Today I bought a sandwich for a homeless kid.
I wasn’t going to. To be honest, I usually avoid anything to do with people asking for money. It’s pretty much inherent. Part of living on the West Coast I think. I am immune to begging…
On the West Coast, homeless people have cats and dogs that they guilt you into feeling sorry for. Who, seriously, can resist giving money to help someone feed their dog. That is the hardest thing in the world for me. Poor animals.
West Coast homeless people also try to ‘jolly’ you out of spare change. Or insult you…. one or the other…
Case in point:
Once, my mother and I were ‘accosted’ by a young man who swore we were so beautiful that he had immediately, on the spot, made up a poem, just for us. He was so charming, that of course we said yes. And then he charged us a dollar. And my Mum, being the lovely person she was, gave it to him.
And then we watched him do the same thing to someone else.
It was funny though. $1 equals funny experience that I remember 10 years later. I guess it was worth the price…
There is a well known man who sits outside a church in downtown Victoria that chimes “Spaaaaaare a little chaaaaange…” He is elderly, white-bearded. Practically has become part of the landscape. I hardly notice him when I am back home.
One day, walking past the Eaton’s Center (that would be ‘The Bay Center’ to all of you young ones in Victoria), I was yelled at for ignoring a request for change. I am sorry. But, to be honest, I can only handle that request so many times… Once I hit 4 or 5, I have reached my limit. It is hard for me to avoid the pleading eyes, but after years of experience I have become a skilled professional.
Living in the South is a little bit different.
There is no real downtown core, so you are not slammed with the exposure that you would be in my hometown of Victoria, or even Vancouver.
M and I were checking out Orlando’s ‘downtown’ area one day, back when I had first moved here when we were approached by the skinniest, dirtiest black man you have ever seen.
He proclaimed “You are in LOVE. I can feel it”.
“I can feel you love, it’s so strong. I know you love this gorgeous woman. You love her. I can feel it…. let me dedicate a song to her beauty…”
And then he proceeded to sing, with a glorious smokey voice, an amazing, jazzy, 1920’s made-up song about my beauty and how it had M wrapped around my finger. For surely no man had ever resisted a woman such as I…
Oh god, how I was both embarrassed and flattered. We gave him $5 and he went on his way, down the deserted street that he had crossed to reach us.
This young man that I saw today was the skinniest boy you have ever seen. Clad in dirty jeans and a black tank top… those shoulders of his popped right out of his torso, they were so sharp and narrow. He asked me very politely “Ma’am, spare any change?” And unfortunately I had none….
So I bought him a turkey sandwich and a bottle of water instead. And apologized to him on my way out of the restaurant for not having any money to give him. I hoped he would like this sandwich instead. He thanked me, and gave me a shy happy smile.
Just look what motherhood has done to me….