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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I Don't Think Your Heart's In It

The young man begging in front of the LRT station is wearing a brand new pair of Timberlands; clean, fashionable jeans; and a very nice woolen greatcoat.

He's quite handsome.

I can't help but wonder how much he’ll pull in today. It's the 16th, after all, halfway through the month.  Someone around here got paid yesterday. Still, what are the odds that anyone will be moved to charity by the sight of this young, well-built young man in his dark gray woolens and immaculate boots boldly confronting people for money?

Not good. Not good odds.

Frankly, it’s all in the approach here. I mean, he’s doing it, but he’s doing it without love.

To be honest, I'd like to see more effort. Look, I get dressed for work every day. I brush my hair, I wear lipstick, I appear to need, perhaps, a wee bit more sleep. I’ve agreed to sell my time and my brain by the hour, and I look like it, so if this guy is going to look me in the eyes while holding a hand-lettered cardboard sign, he could at least put some thought into it.

Come on.  Make me feel like you need my help.  Make me feel good about helping you.

Better yet, I'll tell you what: Amuse me. Tell me a joke. Speak to me in a made-up language.  Yell poetry at me about my beauty, my posture, my sensible footwear.  Stand on your hands. Pretend to see someone from the Great Beyond:  Someone wants me to tell you that you he's okay now, on the other side.  Did someone pass with a name starting with "T"?  "M"?  "J"?  Yes!  J!  He says all is forgiven...

I could also be swayed to give up a dollar or two if you'd be willing to dress the part.  If you're going to try to pull me into this charade that you, Mr. Fashion, need my money, I'd much rather see you in faux-hobo pants, a porkpie hat, perhaps, maybe a bundled bandanna on a stick.

"Ma'am?" he calls, handsome, well-rested face beaming, "Spare change?"

What? My “spare change”? There’s a “spare” kind of change?

I don’t think I’ve ever had “spare” change. I would like to try it, though.


Come on, man. You want my money, earn it.

39 comments:

Jacquelineand.... said...

New Timberlands? Wool greatcoat? I should have it so good!

Mayhap he needs to sell himself on Ebay; I hear that's a popular idea. Since he has brand new Timberlands he could be someone's 'Honey Do' slave?

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Nope, none of my change is spare either...it's all earmarked for something important, like coffee at Tims. This guy sounds like he dresses better than me....maybe he could 'spare' me some change.

Susan Williams said...

My son, at least, will play his guitar for you, and sing you a song.

fmcgmccllc said...

I hate it when the tramps look better than me.

Chantel said...

Amen. And amen again. Makes one wonder....I mean seriously? Right now I'm in ripped jeans and an old black sweater with a hole in the elbow. Both are covered in paint.

Maybe I'll linger a bit in front of the coffee shop and see what happens....

Pearl said...

I've been known to give, but he looked so put together and -- well, expensive! -- that I wanted to punch him. Or think of punching him, anyway.

:-)

terlee said...

Maybe he needed the money for a new cashmere sweater to go with the rest of his outfit...poor boy.

bill lisleman said...

Pearl - you found a new sideline - panhandler coach. It probably doesn't pay much though. Most of the panhandlers I come into contact with these days are over the phone calling themselves charities.

Douglas said...

He is the neo-panhandler. A recent college grad who is just trying to pay off his student loan debt.

Geo. said...

Delightful, Pearl! I too would give change to someone who could assure me things are ok "on the other side". I'd give more change to somebody to convince me things are ok on this side though.

vanilla said...

Too right; the least he could do is dress for the job.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

His parents,who have always given him the good life, must have just kicked him out.

esbboston said...

"faux ho-bo" - ah, a little tiny poem.

As a hidden secret pleasure I internaLLy pronounce it "fox" and mentaLLy giggle, when no one is around. Hee hee. My favorite is the combo faux fox.

I should reaLLy go now, the day is slipping away and I'm not. But I don't wanna do dishes! So I am going to flee ...

Oh, I know a little boy who's real name is Fox.

Joanne Noragon said...

I'm thinking he's been shown the door of his childhood home. He's lounged at the kitchen counter, texting, too long and the old man took him by the scruff and heave hoe'd him, without even change in his pocket. Kinda romantic, don't you think.

esbboston said...

After seeing some rather questionable street musicians in California, I have often thought of financing my worldly trips by playing my violin on foreign sidewalks. Which reminds me, I haven't got it out of its box in several months. Perhaps I fear scaring the Cooper.

joeh said...

Beggers with dogs always do very well. If you need to beg, do you really need a dog? Dogs bring in big bucks though.

Begging with Timberlands?Bad style!

I agree with you, what is spare change? Money you don't need? Then why are you going to work?

Excellent observations.

Glen said...

Cough, cough - sorry, I'm so cold.


spare a dollar lady?

Her Majesty said...

I think Douglas got it right. College loans are the menance behind this madness. That, or gas prices are too high.

Christian at Point Counter-Point Point Point said...

Next time you go by and he says "Spare change?" reply with "Yes please!" and hold out your hand.

Ms Sparrow said...

If you were older like me, you could feign grandmotherly concern. "Oh you poor boy, what has brought you to this lowly state in life? Could I bring you some soup and crusts of bread? Or perhaps a blanket to warm you against the cold winds of autumn?" I might wait till he was really squirming to get away and then give him my most derisive cackle!

A Well Styled Life said...

And these guys aren't paying the taxes on all the money they beg from us!

Hilary said...

Spare change is like leftover wine.. it doesn't exist.

One Bad Pixie said...

I have to agree with Cranky, but we had a woman on the corner of the freeway holding a sign saying "Single Mom, homeless, please help, God Bless." Made me wonder where her kids were while she was out there begging.

She would rub her eyes constantly too. Which made me wonder if you got some of her contaminants from her hands if you gave her any money. At least then you get what you paid for.

Buttons said...

In Toronto where I visit I almost always come across the same type of people wanting my money. My daughter says to one well dressed man one day I am walking ten blocks past you in this hot weather because I don't have $3.00 for the subway, can you spare a $3. bucks? He declined. She was not kidding times are tough all over. I heard one person I know makes $150. to $250 a day doing nothing but panhandling I have to give him credit he found his job:) B

Gigi said...

The post is, as always fabulous, and the comments equally so. I found myself laughing and nodding along quite often. Seriously, dude, look the part if you are going for it.

WrathofDawn said...

I do not have spare change. I have some spare month left over at the end of the money. Perhaps I could give him that.

Michele Eigler said...

I agree with you. He'd probably be more successful if he'd dressed down.

Cloudia said...

Seriously wise, funny gal!


Thanks for YOUr sweet visit!
Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

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Sioux said...

Not too long ago, I saw a guy begging for money on a highway exit. He would reach behind his sign occasionally to bring his cigarette up to his mouth. I thought, 'Oh, no. If he can afford smokes, he's better off than me.' (I don't smoke but if I did, I could not afford to pay for the habit.)

Are you willing to do a hobo weekend workshop? You might be the one who could really make hobos high-falutin', Pearl.

wellfedfred said...

it comforts me to know that if I had to, I could be a better bum than these guys, I find the comfort disturbing.

jenny_o said...

All those things you'd want in exchange for your money would take EFFORT, y'know, like ENERGY, right? Too much work, lady!

Exactly :)

Great post.

Rose L said...

I have been known to carry a bag of snack foods, canned pop-top soup, juice boxes, napkins, plastic cutlery, etc. in a large ziploc bag to hand out to those seeking a handout. A meal (or 2) for them.

Tempo said...

Come on Pearl, new fashionable clothes cost money you know... He's got to scrimp and beg very hard if he wants those matching Argyle socks by his lunchtime meeting with the board.

The Elephant's Child said...

Right on the money as usual. And not just spare (is it ever) change either.

River said...

Change is never spare in my place. It's money-box fodder and goes a long way towards Christmas gifts and cards.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

In my early years living in New York I used to keep quarters in my pocket to dole out on the subways and streets. But it became too overwhelming and depressing. Eventually, I hardened my heart and the beggars became invisible to me. It was a defense mechanism, not cruelty.

Linda O'Connell said...

A group of young guys alternate on a corner panhandling. I'm on to them now. One sits with his head down smoking. Another was shoeless, so I took him a pair of my husband's sneakers. He wanted money.

Pat said...

You have to hand it to him for sheer unadulterated, bleedin' sauce!

Eva Gallant said...

I am grateful that I don't have to beg on street corners yet! If the price of gas and food continues to rise, however.......