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An Unlikely Conversation

March 17, 2010

On my way back home yesterday afternoon, my friend James and I stopped to do something I probably wouldn’t have done before living in Berkeley. Near a bus stop, I heard some catchy music and followed my ears to an elaborate speaker system on a cart. I was surprised to find a homeless man behind it, disc jockeying.

His clothes were a little raggedy and he had a scruffy, bearded face. But he didn’t look harmful at all, so I decided to talk to him.

I started off by expressing my amazement at his awesome music set-up. He seemed to really appreciate that we had stopped to chat. It didn’t take long for us to strike up a prolonged 10-minute conversation. Upon closer inspection, his cart had a nice laptop, PSP gaming system, record player, two small solar panels, and seven speakers. He explained how he was able to afford all that gear. Instead of spending his  SSI (Supplemental Security Income) checks on  alcohol or drugs, he saved it to buy the electronics.

After talking about not buying alcohol or drugs, he smiled and flashed me his small bong with medical marijuana. Later on, he even cracked a few jokes about my Billabong t-shirt.

By the end of the conversation, I found out that he went by the name DJ Dead, due to the fact that he mixed Grateful Dead songs with techno. The whole time, I never thought to ask him why he didn’t save up money to get a home. I guess it never crossed my mind because it felt like a normal conversation, and that’s not really something you typically bring up.

Through it all, DJ Dead seemed like a genuinely happy person and didn’t seem sad at all about being homeless. He seemed content to just have his music. His eyes and voice just lit up when he talked about his music equipment.

I’m really glad I decided to stop and strike up a conversation with him. He taught me a different perspective on life.

Well, at the very least, I can say that I did something that not many others have.

Have a prolonged conversation with a homeless man who DJs from a cart? Check.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Mojo permalink
    March 18, 2010 8:22 pm

    What a great experience! I talked to a homeless woman at a bus stop one morning (she actually came up to me). She was crying and just started talking about how no one ever listens/talks to her, not even her kids, and it was sad cuz I couldn’t really do anything, but I think it was just listening that helped. It’s interesting an interesting experience, something that people just push out of their minds, like if they don’t talk to homeless people it’s like they’re not there…good blog! haha :)

    • March 19, 2010 8:56 pm

      Yeah, it was definitely a refreshing experience. Sometimes people just need someone to listen.


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