Saturday, May 30, 2009

Angry for a Very Good Reason (FINALLY)

Ramon and I had had - were having - a lovely afternoon up on the Broadway drag. I had a 2:30 haircut with Nicole (freakin' genius at making my untidy mess look like an intentional untidy mess) at Scream Barber, and we were wandering home after, stopping by our haunts. Bailey Coy books, Linda's for brunch, I turned the prayer wheel at Vajra and a brief visit to Urban Outfitters, but only to use the privy and to sneer at the gladiator sandals and the $20 hip flasks that say things like "Bitch" and "Horny". Ramon bought me flowers.

On the way out we stopped at Dick's for a chocolate shake and some fries - the line was about five deep as usual. As I waited for Ramon to pay I heard a voice behind me; a lady on the phone.

"Yeah, someone just 'small-changed' me, so I'm buying him a burger. I'm in line right now - talk to you later." This voiced in a loudish tone of complacent ennui. I looked over at her and saw a man beside her (I had seen him a couple of times that afternoon - a little shaggy, but tidily dressed and kind-looking, asking people here and there for money), looking sheepish. Many people were around.

She looked - well, it doesn't matter, save to say that she pretty much satisfied my prejudice about what a person who said things like that, and how they said it, would look like.

Hey, I feel put-upon sometimes, lots of times, when people ask me for money, and especially if they've got some kind of 'I'm different from the others, just in an unfortunate spot at the moment' spiel (some that I've heard from the same person, day after day - I know your Aunt in Tacoma didn't forget your return bus fare for the third day in a row, love). I don't like it that I get hit up more than once every day in this town, and I hardly ever cough up. I hate hearing the conversations that people have to have about The Homeless Problem or the 'get a job' mentality of the cats who feel like they need a reason not to give their hard-earned cash to someone just because they asked for it. I still seethe with rage at the memory of the dude who yelled at me when I told him no: "Well, what fuckin' GOOD are ya?!" The whole homeless/panhandler issue is a thorny nest of not fun thinky thoughts for me. Seeing things from many sides is a sonuvabitch sometimes, no?

This one cut me down, man. Hurt me right to the heart. I hated that woman - I was so mad I was tearing up on our way home. Who DOES that to someone? Some people like buying food for folks who ask them for money, cool. Not my way, of course - I give 'em money and they do what they like with it - but still better than giving people nothing at all or speeching them out about their naughty vagrant ways. But insisting on buying food and then shouting it all over creation - WHILE the poor sucker is with you, for the love of Pete - not nice. Not loving. Maybe not worth it, to that guy.

Sorry, no 'You see, Timmy' moment to cap this one off. I'm just angry, angry, angry. And hurt. And you know what hurt angry people do in this great age - yes.

Yes, we blog about it. Good stuff.

4 Comments:

Blogger Selahkayaker said...

Cerise I was in your fair city on Saturday and was struck by the fact that though I saw many people who might be labeled "homeless" none of them asked me for money, I wonder if I look that unapproachable or was it that I was with my wife and adult daughter(who we were visiting).
The attitude of the person you refer it is likely not uncommon but the brazenness of her phone etiquette is maddening,
My daughter says she finds most those who ask pretty decent about it. She lives by the Seattle Center so maybe they have a different style in that area.
Anyway I did really enjoy the city and what's this talk about Seattle being gray and cool. It was hot!

BTW if you are wondering who the heck I am- I am a friend of Mike over at Addison Rd.

6/03/2009 5:07 PM  
Blogger Cerise said...

Most people ARE totally decent about it, and our buskers are unparalleled in their politesse. Sorry - I guess I got carried away with my "Hey, I'm not into panhandling either" message and sounded pretty hard on them in general. I meant to say that I'm troubled by people asking for money more because of the emotional stuff around it (feeling bad for them, impatience with other people being so tough on the homeless, sometimes getting screamed at/spit on, etc.). People have the legal right to be homeless and to ask for money, and I agree with that and would fight to uphold those rights if need be. But if the money-requesting is badly done, IMO (stupid composition of a back story, aggression and the like), panhandlers are fair game in my blog.

I'm not hating on the panhandlers, nuh-uh. I'm hating on the haters and the generally ungracious. Sorry if that was unclear.

6/09/2009 3:16 PM  
Anonymous corey said...

I get angry at the loud-phone-talker chick because she lacks goodwill (something I starve for these days). On one hand, I wanna poke her in the eye just to wake her up. On the other hand, I'm afraid if I do, I'll dislodge the speck in hers and lose sight of the log in my own.

People suck sometimes, that's fer sure. I remember actually being on the phone with my older brother (King of All Rednecks) once when he was drunk and waiting in a Whataburger drive-thru. He'd just closed down the local country dancehall. A panhandler came up to him in the drive-thru and asked for some money. My brother knocked on the drive-thru window and handed over $5 with an order for a cheeseburger. And his parting words as he drove away were, "AND DON'T YOU GIVE THAT NI**ER THE CHANGE!!!!". It's the crazy dichotomy of virtuous example vs. teaching virtue. Unfortunately, we feel like we need to tie them together when just the example would suffice.

Sorry for the long comment. I coulda just typed "I'm with you". Diarrhea of the keyboard today.

6/23/2009 9:35 AM  
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