$4 goes a long way these days.
Today’s doodle comes from an unknown stranger on the streets of Lexington, KY. Some of you natives may recognize her from the bar scene downtown.
The other night, a few of my friends and I stopped by a bar called Henry Clay’s. We’re standing outside in a smoking circle when I hear this tiny voice from behind me: I turn to see what it was, and there’s this little old woman, maybe in her late fifties/early sixties (I only say old because she looked very well worn), holding a notepad looking up at me. She mumbled something.
“I’m sorry, what was that?”
“Can I draw you?”
“You want to draw me?”
“Yeah, on a two-headed dinosaur.”
Now, that is one hell of a sales pitch. It takes guts to walk up to someone on the street and ask to share your art. It takes cold mechanical steel behind your belly button to walk up and be like, “Hey, I’m going to create for you a mythical creature, and draw you riding it. Like a boss.”
That’s basically what she’d said.
I was intrigued.
“Uh, seven dollars?”
“Hmm. I have four dollars. Will you do it for four?”
Transaction completed. For the next two minutes, I stood with my arms crossed, towering over this tiny woman while she sketched quickly with a pen. My friends all started to snicker. I waved them off. Random people were staring and laughing, I just winked at them. A few people moseyed over to look at the sketch from behind her, then limped away, giggling.
I didn’t care.
You know why? Because this woman changed my life. No one else had a two-headed dinosaur, and now I was getting my very own two-headed dinosaur. I didn’t give two unholy shits what my friends thought. This lady was damned interesting.
She spoke with a frailness that said she might be afraid of me, and her eyes never met mine, not once. She had the shifty, itchy demeanor of a junkie—something I can spot a mile away—but there was a lost kindness in her soul, something misplaced, and beautiful, and warm, but it was alien, even to her. She didn’t recognize it anymore. No one else recognized it, either. Maybe in a very long time.
When she was done, I got out my wallet. If I’d had more than four bucks in change from the bartender, I would’ve given it. The drawing may not look like much to you, but to me, this was by far the best four bucks I ever spent.
“Thank you so much,” I said. “It’s beautiful. Can I give you a hug?”
“Shake your hand?”
“Sure, I’ll shake your hand. You be safe out there tonight.”
She started off down the sidewalk, and my friends started cracking up. I scolded them with my eyes, then smiled.
“Oh yeah, where’s your two-headed dinosaur?”
“Dude, that is literally the worst thing I have ever seen.”
“Then you’re not looking right.”
I turned to see the old lady, but she was already gone, off to add another beautiful creature to the world somewhere else.
And in that moment, I loved her.