Laurie Notaro Has a Hobo Problem

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All of the neighbors knew we had a something of a diverse population in our alley due to our proximity to downtown and a Safeway, a hub for cashing in glass bottles for five cents apiece.

Due to their serve-yourself soup bar, Safeway also became the hobo restaurant of choice, and that was evident by the amount of folks with bits of grass stuck to the backs of their flannel shirts gulping down a cup of minestrone under the cover of a Pepperidge Farm end cap.

As a result, I will eat foodstuffs shipped directly from China before I eat anything from that store that hasn't been hermetically sealed by a machine, and that's not elitist. That's just called being adverse to open sores on or about the mouth area. I don't have them now. I don't want them later because I defied the odds and carelessly dove into a vat of Tuscan Tomato Herpes Bisque.

Even the day that I went searching in the back hedge for my dog's ball and found something quite different didn't really upset me all that much. There, tucked into an open space in between branches, was basically a hobo RV -- a piece of cardboard, a Little Caesar's pizza box, and a bag of empty soda cans that were undoubtedly headed for return at Safeway, followed by a bacchanalian chicken noodle feast.

You know what I did? Nothing. I left the stuff there. I figured that if the hobo needed a place to store his stuff, I was okay with it.

Then came the day a year later when I noticed something odd in my garlic bed. There were "deposits" in uncouth places.

I put a lock on the back gate and I moved on.

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Laurie Notaro