shhh... it's a secret

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

WARNING: This post may offend you (if you're a bum. Otherwise, probably not.)

Ah, yes. Well, here we are, aren't we? I promised you a funny post, didn't I? Well, guess what? I'm in a bit of a funk today, so don't expect too much from me. I'm not really sure why. I guess I have the post-thesis blues. And now I have the "I have the post-thesis blues" blues because I never thought I would be sad that my thesis was over with. (Well, for the most part. I still have that last round of revisions, but that's out of my hands for the moment.) I'm sad. I'm lonely. I think I need some whiskey. Blah, blah, blah. I won't bore you with a tale of the deep, empty, hollow, never-ending sorrow that I'm experiencing right now. (You're welcome)

Instead, let's converse about... homeless people. And hookers. Both of which I saw this evening on my way home from having a margarita with Boss Lady in honor of Cinco de Mayo. Or something like that.

I live in a fairly small college town with a surprising number of bums and prostitutes. There's this one dude who likes to camp out at the entrance to a pretty busy plaza in town. Of course, this plaza happens to contain the grocery store I frequent. (And the liquor store. And the bank that will actually give me a roll of quarters even though I don't have an account there.) Now, I don't know about you, but for some reason, homeless people make me feel guilty. Not guilty enough to give them money, mind you, but guilty nonetheless. Guilty for going to the grocery store. Guilty for driving a car. Guilty for wearing clean clothes. You get the picture, right?

Mr. Bum has himself set up so when you exit the plaza via the left hand lane, he's literally standing two feet away from your driver's side window. I have to turn left in order to go home. I'm not going to lie, I have, on occasion, decided to take the long way home (exit right) in order to avoid being the first car in line at the light so as not to have to see Mr. Bum looming outside my car. It's not that he disgusts me or anything (seeing as I, myself, might be homeless soon). I just happen to experience a lot of anxiety having him next to my car. I mean, WHAT DOES HE EXPECT FROM ME!?! His sign says he wants a job, but his eyes say he'll take anything I offer. This is just too much pressure for me to handle. Let me explain.

First of all, aside from the fact that I barely have enough money to feed myself, I don't carry cash on me. And the only change in my car is the coffee-crusted pennies in the bottom of my cup holders. I suspect handing over a handful of sticky coins would be more offending than if I were to spit on him. I could be wrong.

Second of all, I don't know what his food preferences are. Is he a vegetarian? Does he have any food allergies? If I give him my Nutrageous, will it be appreciated? And furthermore, if I give him my Nutrageous, what will I eat for dinner? Does he have access to a microwave? I would be more than happy to share my microwave popcorn with him if I knew he had the means to pop it. Does he like apples? If I give him my apples will he appreciate how perfect and non-bruised and non-blemished they are? Will he thank me for spending fifteen minutes picking over every apple in the produce section to find the non-mealy ones?

I suspect he likes coffee because he's always drinking from a travel mug, however I'm pretty sure he doesn't have access to a coffee maker let alone a coffee grinder. (I think the Dunkin' Donuts across the street gives him free coffee. Or maybe he's drinking whiskey in that mug. If that's the case, I'll have to befriend him once I'm jobless and homeless too. At least then we'll both have a buddy to drink with.) In other words, I doubt my groceries are of any use to him.

Thirdly, and this one has nothing to do with the anxiety Mr. Bum causes me but is actually a critique of his strategy, why is he only present on warm, sunny days? Who's going to feel bad for a man standing outside on a warm, sunshiny day? If anything, people are going to be envious, and then they're going to be spiteful, and then poor Mr. Bum will go away empty handed because the people driving by are too bitter about the fact that he gets to be outside while they have to go to work and sit in some cramped, hole-in-the-wall, closet trying to pass itself off as an office.

Wouldn't it make more sense to be out there during the wet and cold weather? People always have sympathy for others who are colder and wetter than they are. Think of all the food and money and warm clothes he could get then. I tell you what, once we're seated down on that median with our drinks in hand, that's the first suggestion I'm gonna make.

Oh, and about that hooker I saw? (And if you're wondering how I knew she was a hooker, trust me, I've lived in this town long enough to be able to tell the difference between a hooker and a girl in middle school. The differences in the trashiness are subtle, but once you learn them, you can tell). Explain this to me. It was 90 degrees out today and this chick was walking down the street wearing her ankle boots with white athletic socks, booty shorts, a ruffled shirt with the print of some extinct animal that was killed off by Mother Nature for having a pelt that caused seizures, and a puffer vest. A PUFFER VEST! Did I mention it was 90 DEGREES OUT?

You know what? I bet Mr. Bum would have some interesting insight on this. That will probably be the second topic I bring up during our whiskey fueled conversation. Maybe Miss Hooker will lend us her puffer vest. After all, when she begs for money, she'll get to ride inside the cars while we'd be stuck on the outside in the cold precipitation

UPDATE: I just spotted a chickie in the Arts building I work in wearing the same get-up as Miss Hooker, sans the white socks and the animal print top. Hard to tell if this is the same girl, but I'm quite perplexed. Has hooker garb become some new trend in fashion that I'm unaware of?

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