David (#605) 05-30-14

While sitting on a bench in Ft. Myers, David walked by and asked about my camera. This has been a side benefit of the Olympus OM-D E-M5: the retro look catches people's eye and is often a conversation starter. So I told David that despite the look, it's actually quite modern. And then I told him what I like to photograph – people like him. He was happy to cooperate.

David is from Knoxville, TN. Among other things, he was a volunteer fireman. He wanted to move to Florida, but unfortunately made a strategic blunder. He moved 3 ½ months ago on the premise of employment by Sweetbay, a grocery store chain. A month after relocating, Sweetbay was purchased by Winn Dixie, a rival chain, and like magic, David's job evaporated. He has applications in with many businesses within a few blocks of where we spoke. So far, no luck.

So, David is temporarily without a home. I am reluctant to say 'homeless', as that implies a long term situation, which hopefully is not the case. He stayed in a homeless shelter for 30 days, but there is no provision for people to stay longer. Ironically, he said that people with substance abuse problems have programs to house them longer, but with no abuse problem, 30 days is the maximum. David speaks well, and does not sound bitter.

Here is a jazzy forearm tattoo. But notice the wrist band, “Practice Fire Exit Drills.” This was his mantra while a fireman in Knoxville.

Somehow, this just doesn't seem right.