photo by Minal Saldivar
As we drive up the freeway ramp, I notice that the freeway shack that Minal and I documented a few months ago has been “torn down”. The only vestige of the temporary home aka juggi is cardboard strewn on grass.
Minal documents the change today, as she did back in November.
As we drive to our house, I tell Minal that I once glimpsed the man who lived in the shack that is no more: He was tall and had a bicycle, I say.
Later that afternoon, as I drive to Hillcroft to prepare for my workshops, a man jumps out from under the cement underpass and starts cleaning my windshield.
I lower my window and call out: I don’t have any cash today. Sorry – please stop!
The man laughs. Don’t worry! I don’t got worries. You’re the one who has to drive and pay bills! Me? I got nothin’ so I got nothin’ to worry about.
I rummage in my glove compartment and find a few quarters. Thank you, I tell him. This is all I have today…
He jingles my change and smiles: That’s all it takes for me to be happy!
Minal’s eyes widen when I tell her about the conversation. But how can he be happy if he lives under a freeway? she asks. He doesn’t have a house or a car….or anything.
I say: His home is under the freeway. He believes he has freedom.