chemo lynnwood busfare.


on the corner of pike and broadway, white dude comes up to me and goes, "hey, can i ask you a question?" automatically, i assume he wants money. i prefer the straightforward dudes who just ask, "spare any change?" to which i reply (honestly), "no, i don't." a few years ago, i decided to stop carrying cash. it seemed pointless, since so many stores now accept debit/credit cards. plus, maybe it's the o.c.d. in me, but money is just dirty. i don't like carrying around people's germs in my pockets all day.

it's funny how in life, everyone seems to go through various phases when it comes to confronting beggars. in the beginning, it's pretty easy to give in and just say, "yeah, here's a couple of bucks." as a child, i was irritated whenever an adult or some other authoritative figure would say, "you never know what they're going to spend it on. they might just buy alcohol or drugs with that money." so, as time went on, this idea started to stick. i learned to say the one word that summed up my rejection: "sorry."

i no longer had to say, "no, i don't have any change," or "no, because you'll probably just buy booze with it," or "no, get away from me." all i had to say was, "sorry." that's probably the number one word most beggars get as a response. so, this guy came up to me today on the corner of pike and broadway, and he said, "can i ask you a question?" i reluctantly said, "yeah." just once, i'd like to be asked if i could be asked a question by a random stranger and have it relate to something other than directions or money. "do these pants make me look fat?" "can you believe it's a sunny day in february?" "why did obama have to send more troops to afghanistan?"

instead, the kid started off with, "so, my girlfriend is undergoing chemo in lynnwood, and i got dropped off in seattle, and now i just need bus fare to get to lynnwood." i couldn't really make sense of what he was saying. i picked up the "chemo," "lynnwood," and "bus fare." then he held out his hand and said he only had $0.78. "sorry," i said, "but i don't have any cash." "do you have any change?" "no," i said. as i crossed the street, he gave me a long disappointed look. it was a look that said, you heartless bastard. my girlfriend is going through chemo in lynnwood and you can't spare a dollar for the bus!

obviously, i'd feel really bad if his girlfriend was going through chemo and he really needed bus fare to go be with her. but somehow, somewhere along the way, i've started assuming that all these people are liars. maybe it's just a part of growing old, assuming that strangers are no longer capable of telling the truth. i mean, with the constant news reports about scammers, fraud, and corruption, how is an individual supposed to have faith in the average dude who's down on his luck?

once, there was a white girl downtown asking for change. i was with my friend, who is also a white girl, and after we passed her, my friend said, "i used to sympathize with them, but now i'm just like, 'get a job! go work at jack in the box or something.' i mean, they hire people who don't even speak english!" she felt that she was being offensive or conservative or whatever, but i said that i agreed. it's probably wrong to think this way, but shouldn't young, non-crazy, able-bodied white individuals be able to land jobs in a supposedly liberal, affluent city like seattle?

well, maybe not these days. still, i really don't have any change on me. swear to god.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The ol' chemo bus line. Works every time...except with you, you heartless bastard.