Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I jinxed myself on Saturday. During a conversation I said that I hadn't been panhandled in awhile downtown. Not for cash or cigarettes. The closest thing was the Darling guy on the bus last week.

We thought maybe those coin boxes were actually working. I understand the premise of them, but I'm rarely asked for money directly -- it's usually Tarc money, a transfer ticket, or cigarettes (or a light). Sometimes, there's the My car broke down and I'm out of gas and I have to get back to Lexington and I need $8, but let me first assure you that I'm not one of those people who just asks for money. R. told someone once to try the travelers support office, and the guy said, "Yeah, um, maybe I'll try calling my friend again."

At the end of Derby weekend near 4th Street Live, a guy with a guitar asked us for money for the Greyhound. If you've been playing your guitar all weekend downtown in a bar area during a giant tourist weekend, and you can't make enough for bus fare to Cincinnati, then you should just sell your guitar.

In the morning, I'm walking to the bus stop and I'm about half a block from the intersection when a gaunt woman carrying a plastic bag crosses the street to approach me. Ma'am, she says, just as I walk under some trees and get sprayed with rain water dropping from the leaves. I tell her, Sorry, I need to catch the bus. And while I did have to wait at the light to cross, the bus arrived almost immediately after I arrived at the stop. In the afternoon, I'm walking home along the same block (only slightly north) when she crosses the street again to approach me and says Ma'am. I tell her, I can't help you.

I tend to feel guilty when I refuse someone, which is what I do every time. In this case, both times I didn't even wait for the question. If it was cigarette related, I couldn't help anyway. If it was TARC related, why are you still on the same block more than 7 hours later?  If it was just for money, first of all, I don't even have any cash -- not even loose change. Second of all, you're not supposed to give any out (that's what the point of the boxes is).


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