I felt like I was in NY city earlier this week - I swear it was a first for me in this town - seeing someone fence stolen property out of his jacket at a bus stop. One of the local downtown crackheads must have had a good score thivery the night before because he had about 6 new leather Roots wallets he was asking people if they wanted to buy.
"Hey man, looking for a Christmas gift - I got something you need." We all stared silently, watching the impromptu street entertainment of an the feeble attempt at transaction cognition theory, playing out before our seats.
$10 was all he was asking for a wallet that was worth at least 10 times that amount. Seeing his drawn, scabbed face I assumed it was probably the equivalent price for a hit of crack or meth on the street. A few steps down another crackhead was doing a dance to the music of the traffic, like a black cherry - stoned and ready to drop from the tree of life.
Last week Waiter Rant was pondering of homeless people actually blogged - after all there is internet for free is most libraries in town. He linked to The Homeless Guy, who for the 7th time became unhomeless this past April. What was interesting, which is usual for the A-list bloggers, is to not so much read what the blogger posts but the comments on the post. There were some other blogs that were offered up, such as Unconventional Ideas and Survival Guide to Homeless.
Two caught my eye I thought I would share:
True story time: Homeless guy outside my building, and I would often buy a takeout meal from a local restaurant and split each of the items in half and share with him. He knew not to ask me for money, but I did tell him that if he really was desperate he could ask me to buy him a soda or something, which he sometimes did on a hot day.
One day he asks me to get him something to drink. He really needs it he says. Well, I said to him, you got me at the wrong time. I am actually flat broke right now. That evening when I came home he was waiting outside my door with a bag holding the same meal we usually split. "I did good bumming money today" he says.
Just yesterday, I was driving my oldest son to get his bowling ball redrilled. My youngest son was in the back seat. As we pulled off of I74 onto Montana Avenue, a homeless woman stood on the corner by the exit ramp holding a cardboard sign. "Cold and Hungry". I have a policy that if the light is red, I have cash, and a homeless person shivers on the side of the road, I will make a contribution to that person's well being. I pulled out a five, rolled down my window and handed her the money. She was red faced and cold. She thanked me, peering into the windows of my car to get a better look at my handsome sons. She smiled at the boys and said, "I hope I'm not taking your allowance." I smiled at her and assured her she wasn't.
The light turned green and I sped away. My oldest son (age 17) commented, "Jeez, Mom, I think she was drunk. Are you sure you should have given her money?" I debated my answer. "Perhaps she was, son, but I'd rather err on the side of humanity. A very cold person slurrs their speech, too. Besides, who are we to judge? She obviously needed help. I provided her with a tiny respite. What she does with it is now her business, not ours."
He nodded his head and looked out the window.
Interesting stories, but my day's episodes did make me think that next year I'm going shopping for the Gap and some Prada accessories on the street before heading into the mall.
A street panhandler walked by shortly after Mr. Fenced Goods moved on and given the recent performance, nobody offered change. Hard crowd, or have we become immune to the constant stream of "spare some change"? Sometimes it is hard to tell...