Tuesday, March 30, 2010

When Walking Down the Street

Last night, after a fantastic concert (I'll round up my live music attendance in the near future) a man came up to me and stated that his car was at a nearby gas station and asked if I could I spare some money for gas, stating that he was not panhandling. I lied and claimed that I was low on cash and kept on walking. The man proceeded to verbally lob threats at me from a semi-safe distance and wish for the destruction of America (not necessarily in that order). The situation was made rather more awkward by the very pointy half of a drum stick I was carrying, a souvenir from the show.

So what? Well, as a good liberal what was I to do? I make no claims about being the nicest person on the planet, but I volunteer and give blood and donate money and vote in all elections and use turn signals. If we're using a karma/goodness/going-to-secular-heaven scale I'm not doing terrible. (Obviously I am going to hell when I die. Assuming that there is a hell. And assuming that I ever die.)

Plus I'm not one who judges everyone asking for spare change. If you want to use the money for food for your family or for alcohol, that's your choice. Whatever gets you through the day. But I don't know if I can feel guilty about walking away. Let's assume this man was telling the complete truth. I know some folks like to drive their gas tank right down to the E. But if he knew he was low on gas and on cash, he probably should have made at least a basic analysis of the best way to proceed at an early time than 11:30 in the evening. Also, inside the club from which I was exiting there is an ATM machine. I realize that I'm exposing myself to all sorts of attacks by assuming that this person had an ATM/Debit card, but I'm going to say that this person, if as he claimed, was not a hobo, then he very well could have had a debit card, perhaps with at least a bit of money on it. Also, if there was a time for an overdraft fee, it's probably this one, assuming that he was telling the truth.

But I'm just overanalyzing. I probably should have given him a buck or two. Now I feel sort of guilty about it.


Ozkirbas said...

I was cursed by a homeless person once. He swore that, one day, I'd be brought down to where he was. And, that I would just have to wait and see.

Matt Lindeboom said...

I always offer to buy people water instead of giving them drug money. No one seems to want the water.

Dennis said...

One time I was walking out of a Papa John's at closing time carrying three messed up orders. I used to work there and if pizzas were made incorrectly, employees got to take them home. In the five feet from the store exit to my car, I was solicited for money by a middle aged man with a bag in his hand. This was pretty common, as hobos liked to hang out where drivers come out because they know we have cash on us. Crafty bums!

He asked if he could have some money. I said, "No, but you can have some pizza." I gave him two of the pizzas. He was so happy, he wanted to give me his bag. I told him I did not want his bag. I was assuming it was containing either:

A. An unborn fetus
B. A severed head
C. A football helmet full of cottage cheese
D. All of the above.

This man insisted that I take his bag. So I did. I glanced into the bag and it was full of unopened boxes of toothpaste. About 15 of them. I was overjoyed! I wouldn't have to buy toothpaste for years to come! I looked back to thank the man, and he was GONE.
How I react to bums depends entirely on my mood. If they catch me after listening to "What It's Like" by Everlast, they're gonna get paid. If they catch me walking out of work, they are going to get a crotchety old man response.

Max, any guilt that I would have felt in your situation would instantly be alleviated once the bum turned rude. I can't stand pushy/aggressive bums.