Monday, July 04, 2005

Homeless hometown homies

So I'm walking to the rental office Saturday afternoon to pay my rent. It's 300 degress and I'm hoofing so I can get out of the mf heat. This homeless guy approaches me. No big deal, since I live in a downtown urban area and there are homeless people everywhere (I once had a homeless guy spot me on my balcony drinking a beer, then yelled up asking me if I had a beer or a quarter).

Anyway, homeless guy gives the standard I'm-a-good-homeless-person line: "Say, bru, I don't mean no harm. I'm not out to get you or anything."

I'm like, "Yeah, what's up?"

Homeless guy: "Look, bru, i'm not from around here, I just moved down here from Michigan."

Me: "Oh yeah? Where?"

Homeless guy: "Flint."

I'm sweating like an African slave by this point in the heat.

Me: "For real? I'm from Flint, too. What part you from?"

Homeless guy: "Northwest side."

Me: "For real? Me, too. What part?"

He then names some streets that are in the Northwest part of Flint. I have found, 1,500 miles from the city I grew up in, a homeless guy who grew up in the same city. I tell him what part of Flint I grew up in, and then he hits me with his pitch: "Say bru, would you happen to have some money so I can get a hamburger at McDonalds?"

I didn't have any money on me. I would have tried to hook him up if I had. Normally, I ignore more of the rude clowns that wander around my neighborhood, but, hell, I had to help out a Flintstone, right?

But I was wearing my workout shorts which didn't have any pockets. All I had was my $850 rent check. And it looked like he was eyeing that.

Me: "Sorry, bru, I don't have anything."

He said ok and huffed off. And I thought I heard him call me something.

Here's my question: when did homeless people get so rude? One time, this one homeless guy asked me for some change. I reached into my pocket and gave him all the change I had, which was like 90 cents. This clown was like, "Aw, man. That's all?" Another time this homeless guy approached me and asked me not for money, but for antifreeze.


J said...

antifreeze? OK, that's HILARIOUS.

i have new rule with the homeless: if you look able-bodied and non-homeless, i ain't giving you nothing.

a homeless guy rolled up on the BF (boyfriend) with a brand new pair of shoes. if u homeless, u shouldn't have brand-new anything.

i see homeless people here in o-town with sean john shirts and relatively modern stuff.

if u don't have a limp, a twitch, a disfigurement, something where i can look at u and tell it has enabled your ability to work, u gets none of my ends. if u got two hands, two feet, the majority of your teeth, u need to be filling out a job app.

A.Run said...

That's a dilemma.

One the one hand, you wanna help a homeless person..but you don;t want to support a possible habit or be tricked.

Like J. Hill, I, too, go by a rule. I don't give at all. I oray for the person that they get he REAL help they need.

Once, my church had a clothing drive. A homeless man came up and asked us for money. I walked up to him and told him that we weren't iving out money. We were giving out free clothes. He said, "I don't need no clothes.' I said, "..Well, how can we help you?"

He said, "I just need a coupla dollars," I said, "How else can we help you?"

He got the message and left.

I don't think giving money is the answer.

*Madosi said...

The homelessperson issue is a big one. Here in the Atl they are trying to put a ban on panhandling ... interesting. Anyway, when it comes to a homeless person I do not know how to handle it always. Normally I just give them whatever change I have in my pocket and I move on. I have never come across a rude one before, thank God. My preacher once told us that God comes to us in many different forms. So one day He might just be that homeless person you turn away from ... so I try to be fair, but then again I am human just like the rest.

jqsanders said...

I had a friend in college who had a foolproof response to homeless people: You got change for a $20?

If the answer is yes, you don't need my money.

If the answer is no, then sorry , bro, that's all I got on me.

More humane is to tell them what services you do donate to and where to find them. I'm always amazed at the homeless people who don't know what free stuff is available.