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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Stephanie, the Tattoo-Faced Woman, Would Like a Moment of Your Time

From July of 2010...


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?”

34 comments:

R. Jacob said...

a line comes to mind from the song "Walking in Memphis".
Are you a Christian? I am tonight!

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Next time you run into her at a bar ask HER if she is a Christian woman. I'd love to know how SHE handles that line.

Pearl said...

R., I love that song...

Delores, it's funny how normal -- aside from the tattoo-ed face -- she looks. Such nice clothes and hair -- and definitely un-moored.

St Jude said...

She sounds just like some of the cases on my books ;0} Mind you most of them know that asking for money is a no, no, so they just ask for cigarettes instead. If no one can offer them one they raid the smoking bin outside of the reception. As long as they do it on the way out and not before they come in. Nice!

Pearl said...

St. Jude, the range of behavior in human beings is fascinating. :-)

Charlene: the Polarblogger said...

Funny Stephanie!
I've met some people who I know have more money and possessions than I, but they go around begging. I think it's a sort of hobby for them...hahaha...
Thanks for visiting my site and for the comment.

vanilla said...

Christ said, The poor you have with you always.
Wonder if that means There's nothing to be done about that!
or, Perhaps he could have pointed out that the brazen are much less to be pitied than are the poor.

Roses said...

You could have always said 'yes, I am a Christian woman and God helps those who help themselves.'

Failing that, you could say you're a Jehovah's Witness and has she got the latest copy of the Watchtower?

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

Pearl, charity is a wonderful attribute. Perhaps you could have deviously turned the tables and begged her to weed for an hour to save your life, and rewarded her with a handful of carrots or some potatoes and a cabbage. That's real food, which she would have undeniably earned, done a good deed, which she also could not deny, increasing her self-esteem, and she would probably be healthier, which is good, and you wouldn't have had to pass off the persistent to your very fortunate hubby, who probably was just hanging around for the opportunity to ogle a cute, slim, tattooed chick though. If she was a terribly lazy tattooed chick, she would have bugged off pretty quick at the suggestion of work....win-win! ":)))

SparkleFarkle said...

You should have offered her your spade, saying, "Here, you pick up where I left off. I'm in the process of planting a money tree. You keep digging while I go get the sapling and a bucket or so of H2O to water it with. Oh, and fertilizer. Heck Almighty, I forgot to buy some! Hm. You always seem to have plenty to spread. Yeah, we could use some of that!"

jenny_o said...

Eleven dollars? Not ten, not twenty, but eleven? Jeez. Among (many) other things, that makes me wonder what is going on in her mind.

Very polite, though, with the "ma'am", don't you think? :)

Georgie Horn said...

Uhm...does she know how much those tats cost. Could she pawn her face?

Laurel's Quill said...

I just wonder what her follow-up question would have been if you had said "yes, I am"...hmmmmm.

esbboston said...

"Ma’am, are you a Buddhist woman?”


Hahahahaha, I just had to ask.

(oh no, now I'm worried that I might have offnded you IF you are a Buddhist, so, sorry 'bout that Buddhist thingie just now, otherwise, hahahahahahaha, um, I could use some money, too)

Jinksy said...

You do meet 'em! :)

Susan Kane said...

She sure has some brass, I will give her that! But, that's all I'd give her.

Julianna said...

Maybe she should use the money towards tattoo removal.

Just sayin'

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

Oh Pearl. I love your neighborhood - such great fodder.
But I wouldn't want to live there. ;)

Linda O'Connell said...

My husband got hit up for twenty bucks! I spotted her a mile away and demanded the money back, but she had blown it and admitted she lied.

River said...

When people ask me for money, I'm tempted to start saying "I was going to ask you the same thing! I could really use a couple of dollars to get home on the bus..."

I know that some people in my city make quite a lot this way and because it's small amounts of cash-in-hand they don't have to declare it as earnings to Centrelink. (welfare)

bill lisleman said...

thanks for reposting - I don't remember it.
I think you should of convinced her to do some weeding for the money.

Diane said...

Hmmm . . . reminds me of another of your neighbours. Square-headed. Loved eggs and speakers. Oh, well, at least Tattoo-Face keeps us from missing Square-Head.

Jo-Anne's Rambling said...

Stephanie sounds like a neighbour of mine Lisa but the difference is Lisa is a prostitute and is on drugs and has moments when she will wonder around all the units asking for money for "smokes" which everyone knows means "drugs" and she will do this day and night at all hours. We have been known to shut the door when seeing her walking our way just so we don't have to deal with her......

Belle said...

She reminds me of some people I have known. They have the minds of a 10 or 12 year old. I don't know why, but that is how it seems to me.

HermanTurnip said...

When I was a kid I had a birthmark on my cheek. Whenever I met new people they had a nearly uncontrollable urge to wipe at it with the nearest piece of cloth, thinking it to be a spot of dirt.

I'm glad it finally faded with age ;-)

BECKY said...

"she is a slender, well-dressed married woman who lives in a nice house."...I hope she doesn't have any children. And what about her husband?? It sounds like she should be under someone's supervision....ya know....

Saimi said...

I'm a Christian woman but I have this thing with pushy people..the pusher they get the more stubborn I get...Maybe I should repent..

The Empress said...

Why I carry granola bars in my purse.

Here, you hungry? Here you go.

Vicus Scurra said...

It's all very well asking whether I have met Stephanie, particularly before you give me details about her. I have met several Stephanies in my long and important life, but still, despite some clues embedded in your somewhat vague description of her, cannot be sure whether I have met her. Was she at Woodstock? I wasn't, so maybe that doesn't help. The possibility exists that I may have met her, and either not been told her name, or forgotten it.
In short, I have been kept awake many hours trying to resolve whether I have met her, and still do not know.
Is it really important to you that I give a definitive answer?

Tempo said...

We dont get that here..thank God! Only once have I been 'touched' like poor Willie. Back when those annoying orange clad, cymbal wielding flower people were everywhere in the big cities. He gave me a weedy little flower then as I turned to walk away asked for a small donation. I pulled my only money from my pocket to show him I had nothing but a ten as I told him I had no change. Before I knew what was going on he snatched it and was gone.......

Shelly said...

To me, facial tatooing crosses an invisible line from edgy to kind of wigged out. I always wonder what was on the minds of those folks when they strolled into a tattoo shop and said, "I'd like to get me a tat on my face that will permanently mar my features and cause people to judge me for the rest of my life."

CarrieBoo said...

She sounds positively darling. I love how you handled her. $11? LOL!

Hookin It With Mr. Lick Lick said...

Ballsy doesn't seem worthy of her. That's just downright degenerate, detestable, disgusting. Makes you wonder what goes through her head. You should have told her to bring her bike over and then tell her to hand it over for the money you'll give her. Think that would have changed her mind because she'd have to (gasp!) walk on those two legs of hers? You maybe could have made a buck or two off of selling the bike. :o)

kt said...

The next time you see her you need to beat her to the punch and ask her for $5.00 for plant food.