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Friendly Phil

His Honda is a faded rust-red. It reeks of cigarette smoke. The passenger seat is covered with old newspapers that he pushes onto the floor, to join the empty cans and fast-food wrappers there. He says his name is Phil and that he's been unemployed for a couple of years now. Once in a while, for a few off-the-books bucks, he rakes leaves at the neighborhood church or helps a construction crew.

Why he's taken a hankering to me, I haven't a clue. Most mornings at 5:25am, when he drives to the Forest Glen Metro station to pick up his free newspaper, the only person he sees is me — striding along the sidewalk, weather good or bad. He beeps his horn. I look up and wave. Once every month or two he stops to offer me a ride. As a bonus I get a 30-second monologue on what's wrong with the world. I thank him for the lift, for saving me a few minutes.

Just last week, after a few years of this pre-dawn relationship, Phil happens to spy me in the afternoon as I'm walking home. He honks and stops to greet me. "You've got a beard!" I say. "I've never seen your face before!" We both laugh.

(cf. Taillight Obstruction (2008-01-09), ...) - ^z - 2011-12-18