Sometimes, I find myself sitting somewhere and wondering what strange tradewinds must blow east to west and north to south to bring such strange and diverse characters to this town. Theres more variety in indigent folk here than Ive ever encountered anywhere else. It seems likely that Ill get used to the weirdness soon, but right now, I still marvel at the sheer numbers of people that content themselves with sitting around and asking me to part with some variety of change. If I had a nickel for every person that asked me for some change….
Its weird, too, because theyre often young. Ive never been anywhere where kids younger than me lack any imagination such that they feel compelled to beg for change on the street. Its also weird when some dirty surfer-looking bum is walking down the street and asks you after hes gone by–almost as an afterthought. Like, “hey, there went someone–lemme ask him!” Just damn strange.
I guess Im sensitive to this issue because Im so poor myself and because Im getting up early every morning to look for jobs. Its actually like I really dont have any change to spare just at the moment, so I feel like replying with “No, do you?” every time someone asks me for change. The assumption that predicates asking a total stranger for help in whats clearly not a dangerous or threatening situation is repeatedly amazing to me, and now, for the first time, it also amazes me that people assume that I have anything to give them. I wonder if squatters camps are full of people asking each other for change.
I imagine a wind blowing us all out here like trash into the lee of a stone (or into the gutters next to the sidewalk, i guess). I imagine people in the lives that they might have had before they came here, if they hadnt come here at all. Its like LA is some fabled fantasy land that turns out to be like Fivels America in AN AMERICAN TALE – there are, indeed, cats in America, little mouse, and, yes, theyre still bigger than you.
Whatever. Im really just getting pointers from these guys so that when, in a week, Im totally out of money myself and still unemployed, I can more effectively ask total strangers for money. Does my irritation at this whole thing make me a bad person? I sort of hope it does. This bad person is off to make more calls about jobs so maybe I can get myself employed. Wouldnt that be something?