As I walked by a Whole Foods store, Vernon slowly passed on his bicycle. As he passed, I could “feel” him turn around, and I instinctively knew that I was about to be scammed. Vernon said, “Hi, I have a proposition for you” (Why was I not surprised). “I bet that you don't know which state has the most rain each year. If you guess wrong, you give me a dollar.” I said, “I have a better proposition.” I showed him a couple more and explained 100 Strangers. Vernon was delighted to participate.
I guessed Hawaii, as one side of the islands gets a huge amount of rain. Vernon looked at me like I was an idiot, and said to guess again. My second choice was Alaska. No again, Vernon was born in Seattle, and he assured me that Washington has the most. I later Googled this – it's Hawaii. He lived in Seattle until 17, and then moved to Florida. Vernon is 42.
We shook hands and I almost dropped to my knees, he has a grip like a vise. I told him so, and he smiled and flexed. He said that the homeless life is tough, and you have to be ready to defend yourself. One look at his lip and I could not disagree. Vernon spends most nights under awnings or in high rise parking lots. Sounds like fun.