Streetside Run ins

Everybody knows them, they are in every major city they are all over Santa Barbara, you know who I’m talking about. I’m talking about the homeless. Now before you scream “thats so terrible and your a horrible person” let me clarify who I’m talking about. I’m not talking about the guy on the street corner who can barely talk laying on the sidewalk in Chicago in the middle of winter…. in the rain that makes me want to break down bawling in the street. I’m talking about the animal vegetable mineral guy who roams Goleta and Isla Vista, I’m talking about the woman on the corner screaming obscenities to nobody in particular at the top of her lungs. I want this thread to talk about your humorous run ins with the homeless.

I’m writing this because lately I’ve been going to IV and getting in closer proximity to the homeless. Just today a woman asked me for change and I apologized and said I didn’t have any. She told me never to apologize and don’t feel bad, if I had some money I may give it to her and that would be worth it. I found a dollar when I opened the door to my car that had fallen out of my pants when I left…. I gave it to her. On a less touching note, I have decided to change my attitude and the way I dress when I get out to DC. So to that end I packed up all the clothes I would no longer wear and took them out to IV to place them on the table for the homeless. As I was waiting for my boba tea I saw a tall guy go to the table and pick up my shirts, I smile because my clothes may be a bit short for him but they should fit better than anything he can find easily. He picks up my shirts one by one… and puts them all back. My clothes that are in perfect (nearly) shape are not good enough for the homeless. That made me sad.

Now passing from current events to those past I wanted to talk about some of the run ins I had when I was in Chicago. I was with my ex at Xmas and we had just gone to the cheesecake factory, the pad thai was ginormous and we couldn’t even come close to eating it all. A homeless guy came up asking for a dollar…

“I’m sorry I really never carry cash with me, but I can give you this.” I said holding a bag that said cheesecake factory on the side up to his chest.

“Is it something sweet?” He asked immediately.

“Uhhhh…. no. It’s pad thai and I think some chicken.” I said a little confused.

“No thank you then” and walks away.

I couldn’t believe that instead of a dollar somebody turned down almost 20$ in food from the cheesecake factory.

Another time I was by the train by Clarke and Belmont (a bit of a shifty neighborhood) its cold and pissing outside… for a change. This guy, I don’t think he was homeless but scruffy nonetheless, offers me 50$ to run across the street and pick up a paper bag for him and bring it back to this side of the street. I look at him funny and tell him no, and keep telling him no until he breaks out with:
“You stupid pussy motherf***** all you have to do is go and get the damn bag!”

“Then why don’t you do it?” I ask and walk away.

And finally… One of my favorite stories of all time. I was walking home from my summer job working at U of I at Chicago. It was sunny outside and not too hot, a rare nice day. I saw an old lady walking past me on the street, now mind you I’m of course resplendent in my gothwear… hot topic special. I smile at thelady as she walks past me. She looks straight ahead as if I had just cut loose with one of the nastiest farts of all time…. when out of the corner of her eye I see her cross herself as she walks past me. Now its one thing to not like me due to the way I dress, I’m ok with that, I can also understand being scared of me… when I’m smiling. However to feel the need to call upon your higher power to defend yourself against me when all I do is acknowledge your presence just makes me want to scream

“Not even God will save you from me!”

but I never do.

I’d love to hear some streetside run ins you all have. I think it would make for a wonderful set of short stories.

4 Responses to “Streetside Run ins”

I’m not sure I have more than one story, but here goes…

Back in high school, my church’s youth group volunteered at various charitable organizations from time to time. One time, we were serving dinner at a homeless shelter. It was actually more boring than anything else. But on the way in, while I’m carting a big box full of soup cans, a large, clearly high black guy came up to me and said, “Jesus of Nazareth, it’s you! Are you the king of kings?!?”

I’ll admit, I was cowed. He was big, he was high, and I was a dorky teenager completely out of my element… I think I managed to squeak out something like, “I don’t think so…” before he turned to everyone else on the street and proclaimed “Look, it’s Jesus, the Messiah!” At this point, I basically ran into the shelter and never bumped into the guy again.

Looking back, it’s pretty funny, but at the time I was worried he was going to stab me or something.

Paradoxdruid - May 14th, 2008 at 11:24 pm

THATS IT! That is exactly what I’m talking about! Classic.

flakeytheleper - May 15th, 2008 at 4:16 pm

Growing up in Santa Cruz I saw more than my share of the mentally/emotionally disturbed homeless.

The Viking: This guy (assumption) was dressed in black jeans, long sleeve black shirt, a rough cut leather vest, a mask, sun glasses, furry boots and a cheesy looking viking helmet. At his side was a sheath knife and he always had a large walking stick. He would stand at the intersection of a major street and a highway flipping off what ever was the oncoming traffic. If anyone honked, he waved his stick at them. He eventually disappeared.

Aqualung!: Was always on the same street corner of a lightly trafficked street with headphones on, air guitaring into the street. He always looked happy while dancing air guitaring, too bad the play button on his walkman was never pushed in. He also disappeared eventually, though my brother saw him a couple years later without his headphones looking depressed and sullen.

Normal By Day: I’d seen this guy before 9pm and he acted normal. Once it got later in the evening if you were walking down the street and happened to be behind him, he would turn and yell at you, “STOP FOLLOWING ME” and then pick up his pace, turning more frequently to see if you were still following him.

BIIIRRRD MAN!: He didn’t last long, all of a day. He was at an intersection of two major roads in town. He was hunched over flapping his arms like they were large wings while hopping at each flap. He waited for the light to turn green and give him the walk signal and he would then “fly” across to the next corner.

In Denver we have red parking meters in the pedestrian walkway. Any money put into those goes to the local homeless shelters and food kitchens. I no longer hand out any change to the homeless in Denver, rather I donate through these devices. I want my cash to go to people actually actively seeking help. I was put off having been turned down on several occasions to purchase food for someone and never been taken up on it.

Stephen - May 16th, 2008 at 9:23 am

In Denver we have red parking meters in the pedestrian walkway. Any money put into those goes to the local homeless shelters and food kitchens.

Hey, that’s a neat idea.

Mallorn - May 20th, 2008 at 6:48 am

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