Another installment of “The Invisible Ones” of Washington, DC
This is Thompson, “just plain Thompson,” he says. I spotted Thompson as I was sitting in a coffee shop opposite the Dupont Circle Park in Washington, DC. The park is one of the more popular and safe places for the homeless to sleep at night as there is always a large police presence in the neighborhood. Thompson had just packed up his things and was headed out for the day to his first panhandling spot near the subway station. He carries an unusually large amount of baggage with him including a digital piano. It is already 80 + degrees at 8:30 in the morning and Thompson is wearing a winter parka, and two hats. Easier to wear them, then to carry them, he says. Thompson is originally from Virginia but has been homeless in DC for at least 10 years. He is a friendly and affable man if you engage him in conversation. He agreed to this photograph in exchange for a cash donation. Otherwise, he looks somewhat intimidating bundled up in his Winter clothing, which has the effect of inhibiting his panhandling. Thompson tells me that later on in the day and early evening he will break out the piano and become a street musician to enhance his income. He doesn’t stray far from the Dupont Circle neighborhood, so if you see him stop and give his piano playing a listen and by all means have a conversation. You’ll both be better for it.