Saturday, October 09, 2010

Ingratitude Attitude

This dude had the look.

Oh we all know it well. That cleverly rehearsed face that said, "Buddy, I'm down on my luck. Can ya spare a buck?"

Well, a buck wasn't exactly what he asked for, but it's always money that they want.

Aren't you a little hardcore? Don't you feel guilty?

No, because it's mostly a sham.

I feel sorry for the truly needful, not for the fakers who have lied to my face and then felt superior because they duped me. What about those assholes? Case in point: one night this couple approached me. They needed money to get to Beckley because "her mom was in the hospital," etc. I gave them some change, no biggie.

It wasn't the money, but the stupidity I felt as I watched them head in the exact opposite direction of Beckley. And worse, the smug look on their faces. Smiling cons. Great.

Or the Reverse Guilt Trip that a guy, claiming to be a minister, tried to lay on me because I wouldn't give him any money for a desperately needed trip to Morgantown.

I wanted to ask: "If you're a minister, then surely your church can afford you a trip to Morgantown?" Instead, I stood silent as he gave me that "I can't believe what a low human being you are" look.

When I was in Alabama, attending a conference, these two guys thought they'd put the hustle on me.

"Hey man. I need some spare change. You got any spare change?"

"No, I don't. Sorry."

There were two of them, at night, I was alone and in strange city. Caution was my guide. Also, I sensed a criminal element about these guys.

And then, of course, the GUILT: "Well, you have a good night now" meaning "You go on leading your lifestyle of the rich and famous and we poor folk will struggle for survival out on the streets."

Later that night, I ran into them again. I guess they were making the rounds in the tourist section again.

"Hey, hey. You find any spare change yet?"

What am I? The only tourist you can hassle tonight?

I had had enough. "No, I'm trying to decide where to eat. I'll let you know."

Their faces said the following: "If it was another place, motherfucker, we'd fucking cut you."

Ok, I'm sorry. Did I see through your lies? You no more need money for food than Mother Teresa needed a Porsche.

> Back to our inglorious story.....

"Sir, can you spare [unintelligible] for a couple of gallons of gas?"

"Give me a minute" was my stall tactic. I went inside the convenience store- a place that I frequent so much that I'm on first name basis with the staff and owner.

"There's a guy out there asking for money."

"We'll ask him to move."

"Do you think he's for real?"

"Who knows?"

I gave the guy a buck. I know that's not shit, but his face said, "You cheap bastard. I asked nicely for a couple a bucks. Maybe even five, but all you give me is a damn dollar???" Out of his mouth came a mumbling "You have a nice day, sir."

Ungrateful bastard. I wasn't expecting an ass kissing, but to be so blatenly obvious. Dude, you need a better line. Work on it.

Ask anyone who really knows me, anyone you care to ask. Ask them if I act like I place myself above people. Ask away. Ask all day. I'm no saint, but neither am I a class snob.

I do feel sorry for the homeless and those guys that look like life has beaten them down to nothing.

I just ain't buying the bullshit.


The Only Mister Ed said...

It took a long time for me to develop a thicker skin in these situations. I grew up in a small Southern town where we just didn't have "homeless people". The town constabulary hustled those folks to the city limits. When I moved to the Bay Area it was such a shock to have so many of them in my face. Gradually I came to realize that it just wasn't my responsibility to care for all of them. Just give some change now and then when I could and ignore the rest, no matter how it pinched my conscience.

Al said...

I usually keep a couple Clif Bars or other snacks on me or in the car. I generally don't hand out cash, but if someone says they're hungry, I'll hand them something to eat.