Taking Back the Streets  

Is it just me, or are the homeless in your part of the country also beginning to mobilize in peculiar ways? Here are a few examples of things I have seen go down, bum-style, over the last few months, and I don't even make it downtown that often.

This really ragged guy was manning his post at a freeway on-ramp; I'm talking he looks like he was dragged behind a truck through broken whiskey bottles. Yet his sign said the following: "At the forefront of realism is the lacking ideal that I'm ever going to do anything of merit with this life." It was only after writing this down that I realized, hey, I just had my thought provoked by a guy with crazy eyes and a spatula sticking out of his back pocket. I even Googled the phrase when I got home, but no matches returned, so he was actually spinning original (or very obscure) content. Next time I'm in that area I'll have to check and see if he has any good book ideas.

Another weird occurrence happened only last week, involving two of this fair city's street people. Although obviously homeless, these two guys didn't look that bad compared to others I have seen. No outward signs of intoxication, and neither of them were inappropriately without a shirt on in 40 degree weather. Yet for some reason I can only imagine to be either really good or beyond-my-level-of-comprehension stupid, they were playing catch... with a whole rotisserie chicken. I suppose in the land of the homeless this might be an everyday kind of thing, but other than that time I threw a McNugget out the window at a hitchhiker, this is a new one for me.

The final tale is of an older woman, someone who requires no stretch of the imagination to see that she is down on her luck. Yet here we are, me behind her in line at Starbucks, feeling a bit of sympathy as she orders a small, black coffee. My hearts strings are tugged even further when she asks politely if there are any day-old pastries they would give her for free, only to be met with a callous "no." I should pay for her coffee, I think. I pull out my debit card at the same moment she produces a Ziploc bag from her dirty, oversized coat. A Ziploc bag that's fucking stuffed with cash. I see all denominations of bills in there, including several hundreds and many more twenties. My thoughts shift -- Nice, bag lady has more in savings than I do. I then decide to step out of line and grab coffee at work instead.

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3 Reasons to Live

  • Chris  
    October 6, 2008 at 9:10 AM

    Pretty soon guys will be hanging out at busy intersections with debit card readers. Just swipe your card and punch in your pin. Maybe get some cash back.

  • Em  
    October 6, 2008 at 11:10 AM

    These two posts were so not posted on the days they say they were.

    But yea, homeless people will surprise you. There is often more there than meets the eye.

  • Ryan  
    October 6, 2008 at 12:29 PM

    Em stop being a Narc!

    I was on the subway last week and a homeless guy was selling objects I was too scared to look directly at. Part of his pitch was "I know y'all are scared of a black man selling things, but relax, we are gonna have a black president soon."

    As much as I appreciated his smart political views, I didn't want to hand over my well earned change. Until, that is, he came out with this, "Remember folks, you can't take it with you, so you might as well give it to me."

    If I laugh they get money.

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