Elizabeth Street, CBD: With Dave, my partner, on his once-yearly clothes shopping blitz. The heat is furious, the wind a wicked northerly. Near the traffic lights, I spot a bearded guy, maybe twenty-five, sitting cross-legged. ‘Hi I’m Max,’ says his sign. ‘I’m homeless and I’m hungry. Can you help?’
Max is reading a paperback, chin resting in his left hand. It’s no mean feat to be engrossed in a book on this hot, dusty footpath. But does he look a bit too comfortable?
On we plunge, towards the holy grail of an air-conditioned Melbourne Central. On the street outside, a wild-eyed old man shuffles up, with hand outstretched. ‘G’day, guys …’
I offer a tight half-smile and a moment’s eye contact. Then I stride on towards the gust of cool air.
This is a really fascinating piece. The author decided to map her encounters with beggars in Melbourne over the period of a year, and this article describes everything that happened.