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Monday, May 16, 2011

Stephanie the Tattoo-Faced Woman Underestimated How It Would Affect Her Employment Opportunities

Did I mention that I would be hosting a bachelorette party Saturday night? Did I mention how I suspected that would affect my ability/desire to write Sunday? I didn't, did I? Boy, that's just me all over...

Enjoy a re-post. There will be fresh postings tomorrow...


Have you met Stephanie?

Stephanie lives in my neighborhood. She is the subject of much discussion and many e-mails, some of which come from the police; a distinctly marked woman you can confuse with no other; a woman who has knocked on doors at 2:00 a.m. to ask for money.

I hadn’t seen Stephanie for a while, but I saw her recently.

“Excuse me? Excuse me?”

I look up from my weeding in the front garden. This is not the first time I’ve been interrupted by people asking for money while I’m weeding. I blame it on an alluring combination of stained gardening pants and paint-spattered Elvis-commemorative-stamp tee-shirt.

Drives the peoples wild.

Stephanie de-bikes, leaving it on the sidewalk, and approaches rapidly. “Could I talk to you for a moment, ma’am?" she says. "Ma’am, are you a Christian woman?”

Ah. This is not the first time I’ve heard this approach.

“No,” I said. “Sorry, I’m not.” I go back to my weeding.

This does not deter Stephanie. “Ma’am, do you have some money?”

I stop weeding and sigh ever so slightly. “Yes, I do. Now are you going to ask me to give my money to you?”

“Yes, ma’am, if you could just see your way clear to giving me a couple dollars, I haven’t eaten in two days.”

I look up at her. She doesn’t know that I know where she lives, that I know her last name, that we frequent the same bars. Despite her propensity for begging – Mike bought her two drinks at Mayslack’s just to shut her up about how hard it was for her to find a job now that her face is covered with tattoos – she is a slender, well-dressed married woman who lives in a nice house.

Stephanie may have issues, but not eating isn’t one of them.

“No, I’m sorry,” I say. “I don’t have any money. I’m working in my yard.”

“You could run inside,” she offers.

I stare at her.

“You could run inside,” she repeats. “I’ll watch your, uh, your – “

“Spade,” I say. “And I don’t want to run inside.”

She keeps talking. Surely I am a Christian woman? Surely I can see my way to giving her whatever "spare" money I had? Maybe eleven dollars? Do I have eleven dollars to spare?

Persistence is her strong suit.

Eventually my husband comes around the corner.

“Sir? Sir?” Stephanie leaves my side and launches into her speech. Poor Willie has no defenses against brazen women; and after hearing less than a couple lines of her spiel digs into his pockets and gives her two dollars.

And with that, Stephanie jumps on her bike and is gone before you can ask – and feel free to join in here – “Ma’am? Are you a Christian woman?”

45 comments:

Simply Suthern said...

I'm a woose when it comes to women begging. I know some prolly need it for some less than honorable reason but the what ifs kick in? So I usually dig down like Willie.

Oilfield Trash said...

Oh my, great re-post.

Pearl said...

Simply, women are sneaky. :-)

OT, thank you!

Yandie, Goddess of Pickles. said...

I'd have been tempted to offer a sandwich, but probably wouldn't.

Pearl said...

Yandie, she's actually slender, well-built and attractive -- just nuts. I've even seen her husband, who is quite devoted to her...

Suitcase said...

Once again Pearl - I love, LOVE your blog!

Leenie said...

Not only are your archives awesome, but so are your followers. Here at this site I find the best place to find great entertainment in the form of twisted humor---but also a superb spot to find other such twisted and warped wonky good writers. I grovel at Pearl's Christian feet. You got any spare change?

Pearl said...

Aww, Suitcase. :-) Thank you.

Leenie, what?! Now there's SPARE change?!! :-)

Drake Sigar said...

Ah, I know someone who used to do that. I answered with “give a girl a fish and she eats for a day, teach a girl to fish and she’ll eat for a lifetime.” She left and never showed up for those fishing lessons.

Bitch.

Doubting Thomas said...

Whenever confronted with that line from a person panhandling, my curmudgeonly friend would say "Why yes! Yes, I am! And did you know... Jesus SAVES! Try it sometime and you wouldn't be asking me for money." He was a li'l bit testy sometimes...

jenny_o said...

Wow, just - wow.

Glen said...

nagging of that depth and ability can ONLY come from a married woman

C... said...

Sucks but these are the same people eating away a tax dollar money for their welfare, disability or whatever check when they know damn well they can work.

Pearl said...

Drake, very funny. :-)

Doubting Thomas, we'll I'm a little bummed that I didn't think of that. :-) Jesus saves. Why I oughta...

Jenny, hadn't you heard? Apparently we're not embarrassed/ashamed to ask strangers for money now... Brave new world...

Glen, don't make me come over there...

C, I've not carried on a conversation with her beyond this one, but I have friends who have and there is something definitely wrong with her thinking...

Susan in the Boonies said...

I love that you know her. I love your confidence and ability to say no. I love your husband being a soft touch.

Can I just say how much I hate being put in that situation, because I AM a Christian woman, and I know it's OK to have healthy boundaries, and yet I know I want to be able to live life with an open hand as well.

Jimmy said...

I'd have agreed to give her two dollars, but only if she performed a robotic dance for me.

It never fails.

Daisy said...

All I ever get when I'm in the garden, or otherwise busy, are JW's or Mormons trying to give me salvation. Not as entertaining as a crazy person.

Caleb said...

If she's hungry, and you're in your garden, just give her a couple of onions and a tomato or something.

Problem solved!

Belle said...

When I lived in Vancouver, I heard every story in the book.

Pearl said...

Susan, I know you are, and I actually though of you when posting this. I do believe in helping, and have been known as asoft touch at various times in my life, but people asking for money really bothers me. I hate to think of the situation I'd have to be in before I would ask a stranger for money. Frankly, things would have to be dire and I'd probably be begging for your crusts..

Jimmy, I've actually seen that. :-) I've seen people dance for money (usually beer money) and it's an interesting mixture (for me) of funny and pathetic.

Daisy, I actually let a Jehovah's Witness into my home once, years and years ago. I was depressed at the time and I thought it couldn't hurt. We held hands at the end and prayed and damned if I didn't feel better, almost immediately. :-)

Caleb, it was the front flower garden. :-)

Belle, it gets inventive, doesn't it? Had a guy show up at a local bar with a box of CDs. The box was stamped "Best Buy" (electronics/music store) and try to sell its contents "for the children". Told him I didn't want to buy stolen goods and he made quite a show of being offended...

Almost Precious said...

I'm inclined to think Stephanie was dropped a few times too many when she was just a wee little one as she sounds like she's a couple of cards short of a full deck.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I swear I've met her...Stephanie gets around!

Pearl said...

Almost Precious, outside of the face-tattoo, Stephanie's not bad looking -- but there's something going on behind the eyes that makes you think she's not seeing the same colors you are...

Green Girl, I've no doubt of it. :-)

NYEMT said...

I heard the same panhandling tale of woe from the same guy, twice, almost ten years apart, in two different areas of the city. He drove up to me both times in a clunker of a car, and begged for a couple dollars for gas (which in case you hadn't guessed, was MUCH cheaper then), saying he'd had to follow his dad's ambulance to the ER at a moment's notice and hadn't grabbed his wallet. The first time I was in college (and seriously - what idiot panhandles on a college campus anyway?) and honestly didn't have a dollar in my pocket. The second time, at a train station, I told him I was glad his dad made it through the first heart attack, and suggested that after the first time, I, for one, would've remembered to grab my wallet on the way out the door the second time around. Then I offered to call a transit cop for him, as I was sure they could find some way to help him out. He departed rather abruptly, and apparently without concern for his empty gas gauge. :)

GYPSYWOMAN said...

but, mam, aren't you a christian woman?!!
;)

Pearl said...

NYEMT, makes it tough, doesn't it? Someday, someone WILL genuinely need help and how the hell will we know that it's the real deal?!

GYPSYWOMAN, hard to tell, isn't it? ;-)

Pearl said...

NYEMT, why can't I get to your blog?!

Tom G. said...

Whew... further reinforcement for why I hide inside of my house with curtains drawn.

Human interaction is just so... icky.

Gigi said...

I always think that there must not be something quite right with the way a person thinks if they are sporting a tattoo on their face....

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

A woman hit us up for gas money a couple of weeks ago. I was surprised when my hubby gave her a couple of dollars even though he didn't believe her for a minute. Usually I'm the softy and he laughs at me.

Bushman said...

One time downtown in the city I had a prostitue approach me (first time ever) and ask if I wanted to potty (party) I simply told her I went potty before I left the house. You should have seen the confusion in her crack blighted eyesight!

lifeshighway said...

Great post. I have never had a women beg from me. It is always scary men who I feel like shoving all my worldly goods to them just so they will go away.

Kara said...

Your posts always crack me up - this time, you had me laughing after reading only the title! Hope you've recuperated from your fun night.

Eva Gallant said...

Love that you can say no.

injaynesworld said...

Wow. You mean that crap actually works? I'm off to visit the neighbors.

Gaucho said...

Remeber the time the guy came up to us at the bus stop and asked you for $50. He was even willing to take a check!

--Afternoon Al

HermanTurnip said...

Awww, should have told her that you were a Nihilist.

aBroad said...

OK... I deleted my first response by accident so I am gonna keep this short.
We have 2 people who live in the park or in a truck near the park where we go each day with Pup.
They do their laundry in the park, in a bucket, hanging things to dry on bushes and from tree branches.
They air out their mattress by leaning it against a tree or monument.
No one objects, no one even seems to notice.
They do not beg.
They never ask anyone for a penny/peso/centavo.
So while your story is funny and you always make me laugh, I don't like this "Christian" lady so much ..

Bossy Betty said...

I remember this one!!! It's a goodie!

GTChristie said...

Directly answering a freeloader's opening question is the first mistake. The hook's into you already. Then you have to defend your answer and the followup technique is to wear you down. Total silence is my technique and it works like a charm. Of course it helps that I look a little crazy myself. Scares the bejazzers outta them. =D

A newspaper reporter worked the streets for a few days, getting to know a cross section of local hobos. He discovered many of them make about $150 a day, and the best make more like $250. All unreported to the IRS, we can assume.

"Actually I was going to ask YOU for money," would be appropriate. LOL.

On My Soapbox said...

Oh, how I hate mooching, hypocritical liars! One came up to us at the gas station the other day. I told her NO. DH, of course, gave her a couple of bucks.... Sucker.

Linda O'Connell said...

They're here too. You should have yanked a dandelion and said, "These greens are edible, here, I'll give you a bunch."
I usually help the homeless but not the regulars who make their living on the corner. I prefer to buy them a fast food meal.
Ewww! tattooed face?

Pat said...

Willy?
I'm new to these parts.

Caleb said...

What- she's too good to eat petunias? Then I guess she's not hungry, is she??

Erin said...

I like it even more the second time around! My favorite part is when you tell her you're not a Christian woman.