Tuesday, April 13, 2004

If You Don't Like My Peaches Then Don't Shake My Tree

I had a guy approach me in the parking lot this morning at the coffee place. Immediately he could see my guard was up, because I stopped walking and let him come my way - I wasn't going to get trapped between two cars like that. So I stayed out in the open and he gave me his line - you've heard it before. Blah Blah Blah I have no home blah blah blah I just need a buck so I can get a bagel blah blah blah. So I'm sure he's doing this for a reason and he maybe is down on his luck but here's the thing. He didn't stink. I felt more tired than he looked and dang it - it was COLD out and he had only one layer of clothing on. Homeless my foot. So I told him I thought he was full of shit but he could have the dollar I had left in my purse and I'd give him 20 if I had it why didn't he just ask openly instead of trying to come up with some big long line and waste my time. He raised his hand and said HONEST I'm not a nutcase -- and I interrupted him and said No maybe you're not, but I am, so take this dollar, it's all I have this morning (it really was) - and get away from me. He did take my dollar - of course - and moved on to the next person telling them a completely different story.
I felt kinda badly because you know - what if I'm wrong? Maybe he stayed in a shelter last night and got a shower and just visited the laundromat yesterday and was not cold and maybe I just patronized and insulted someone honestly having a really bad time - but he caught ME at a bad time and I guess I just didn't have the patience for it. So, Mr Man in the Parking Lot, maybe the whole big long story doesn't work anymore cause the rest of us are jaded.
Maybe if you appeal to people's goodness instead of their guilt you might get a little further and not freak people out so much.
Or maybe you're just full of crap and you need to get a job.
I heard a story about my brother getting approached by a homeless guy once. He worked with homeless people in Jacksonville Florida and I hear he was really good at it. This particular guy was someone he knew so when the guy asked him for a smoke he said naw, I don't have any but I bet you do - how bout YOU loan ME a smoke and I'll owe you one. So they sat down and had a smoke together.
The guy I met this morning was smoking - maybe I should have asked him for a smoke. Mighta worked out feeling better for both of us.


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