I started at the corner of Broadway and Fourth Street, slowly making my way to Main Street, and it didn't take long to achieve a reaction.
Walking beside the Bluegrass Beach Shop and Subway across the street from the courthouse, I encountered two women. In doing so, I minded my business, shuffling along with my sign.
But then I attempted to make eye contact with the first woman.
Nothing. She quickly ran into Subway.
A second woman, with whom I also attempted to make a human connection, darted past, never acknowledging my presence.
The two encounters - or non-encounters, as it were - helped me get deeper into character. My spirits dropped and I felt like somehow I was not worthy of being recognized as a living, breathing person.
Bummed out, I sat down at the Community Arts Center on the corner of Fourth and Main Street. Eyes focused on the ground in front of me, I placed my sign in plain view and waited.
Dozens of shoes shuffled past, and I noticed the feet moved a little more quickly when they shot by me.
But then a voice broke the silence of indifference.
"Brother, I'll buy your lunch," a man called out from a group of passing Danville firefighters.
Though surprised and caught off guard by the offer, I explained to the man I was OK. But the fact someone reached out to me was something new, and it felt good.
Next, I attempted to circle around the intersection at Fourth and Main. Despite clearly obeying all of the traffic lights, I found cars and trucks whizzed by me with absolutely no regard for my presence.
The drivers acted as though I wasn't even there, and as if striking a homeless man would not have counted as hitting a person.
On Main Street, a driver stopping to offer me a bag of Chex Mix provided a nice interruption from the number of store and business patrons staring at me from behind windows.
Again, the offer of help was nice.
Being seen and not seen
For the better part of the next hour, I continued shuffling up and down Main Street, and one by one, new people shot past me with additional spring in their step.
Some of the faces with their eyes fixated on the ground belonged to people I've known much of my life. If they looked directly at me, I would have been recognized, but given my socially unacceptable appearance, they didn't bother.
Two of the most disheartening displays happened back-to-back. On Main Street, two women about 30 feet in front of me whispered as I walked behind them. They turned and shot a mean look in my direction before jaywalking to the opposite side of the street. It was as though I wasn't worthy to share a public sidewalk.
Even worse, I faked a fall in front of the Hub as a row of patrons sat at the window watching. No one came to offer help. They only stared from the window.
I scuttled about feeling genuinely dejected. As a person who typically wears his heart on his sleeve, I couldn't fathom how human beings could treat one of their own in such a callous, uncaring manner.
But then it's amazing what the smallest gesture can do to someone's spirits.
"Excuse me, sir?" I heard as I continued to make one final lap down Main Street.
"Sir?" said the voice at a high pitch.
I used one of my hands to clear the black wig hair from my face. I looked up - for the first time in a while - to see a boy, about 10 years old, staring at me, with equal parts nervousness and concern.
He handed me something in a brown wrapper, and when I grasped the roll, I realized it was a pack of crackers.
"Hope you like it," he said.
And for the first time in nearly an hour, I mustered a smile.
The boy ran off, presumably to be reunited with a parent, while I headed back to my starting point, calling it a day on my interesting view of society.
Looking back, I realize that it's possible several of the people I encountered didn't buy that I was homeless and just thought my outfit and attitude were socially unacceptable.
Even though it lasted only about two hours, the experiment changed me. It gave me a deeper appreciation for small acts of kindness and challenged me to open up my perspective to be more knowledgeable and aware of those around me, especially those less fortunate.