It would be easy to dismiss this action as belonging to a psychotic homeless street person—the man has a bit of the troubled disheveled appearance you see in such folks. It's possible the man is delusional and is writing sad and tortured messages to some imaginary friend or enemy. But except for his shabby clothing, the man is relatively clear of eye and doesn't have the other mannerisms you associate with the homeless mentally ill. So I find myself hoping that perhaps this is some kind of technique for communication among the rational homeless wandering the streets of the inner city. Without cell phones, perhaps leaving messages in trash cans is a viable means to tell your friends where you want to meet up later, or where a warm bed for the night might be found. Such a message would surely be safe from prying eyes, since the garbage sweep comes through in the wee morning hours and it's not likely others will be digging through trash to intercept these pieces of dialogue.
As the bus pulls away, the man tosses his last message into the trash can, and heads up the block for Lake Street, slinging a worn rucksack over his shoulder as he goes. I fight back the urge to jump off the bus and follow the man to learn more of his story.