Tuesday, December 06, 2005

So it seems that if I log into blogger via the comments section, then I can get onto the rest of blogger while I'm at work. Thus the blogging currently happening right now. I feel a lot better today. The virus is on notice and hastily packing its luggage. Plus, it didn't snow, and is actually kind of nice and sunny outside.

I live in a small New England town (officially a city, I guess, but it doesn't look like one) and my walk to work is about five blocks, three of which are in a residential area. Yet every day at least one panhandler asks me for money. One guy is always sitting under the railroad bridge on my way home, but today a different one asked me for a quarter for some coffee this morning, so I know there will be at least two spare-change opportunities today. I have to admit that I never give them anything. Is that bad? I am just convinced, like the worst kind of person, that they aren't going to spend the money on food or coffee or anything but booze or drugs. Frankly it's kind of hard to not think that when they're so often drunk while asking me for money. I don't know why our small town has such a large homeless population. The local state-run mental hospital was deregulated (nice term for "shut down and abandoned") more than twenty years ago, so it seems kind of unlikely all of these people are former residents. I've been assuming they're here because our town is full of generous and kind-hearted people who provide shelter and food for them. Which is nice. Go, us. But doesn't make me want to give them money. There have been days when I've had to stop myself from snarling, "Nope, I'm going to hold on to this money that I EARNED AT A JOB THAT SUCKS THE LIFE OUT OF MY VERY SOUL."* (It's especially difficult to not say that kind of thing to the "homeless" teens.) Not very liberal of me, I know. I am generous in other ways, I swear it.

I did laundry last night. I enjoy the readings of the flyers at the laundromats. It gives one a sense of what one's town is all about. My favorite one yesterday went something like this (going from memory, here): "Looking for housemate/ housing share for a vegan, non-toxic household (no TV or microwave). I'm a 22-year old part-time student who likes cooking, dancing, cats, reading, and playing a friend-made flute! I am joyous, easy-going, and clear [yes, she definitely said "clear"]. I love to PLAY!!" In college, people like that are what made me strip all hippie traces away that I had left from my Quakerly childhood.

In sum, I am an ornery bastard. Who loves to PLAY!!

* That's not even true; my job is pretty great, all things considered, but it's still work, and not always fun.


Tits McGee said...

Don't get me started on the "homeless" teens, especially the ones who can afford Doc Martins and facial piercings.

My favorite laundromat find: business cards for "Body By Gregg Professional Modeling," for "Photographers, Artists, Etc.," with an additional line noting that he is available for "Group or Private." His phone number is printed on the card, with an additional number hand-written at the bottom. The kicker, of course, is the picture of Gregg, in which he, on all fours, proffers his lovely bubble-butt and looks over his muscled shoulder with a come-hither stare. He's so pretty.

av said...

I think the homeless teens really get under our skin because they have things we don't: an extra 15 or 20 years, parents who give them money, and they don't have to work. But, we can reassure ourselves that we are professionals and can provide for ourselves, don't have kids and can spend all our money on ourselves, and have better fashion sense. That's all I can come up with right now. Also, I love to play! That poster sounds like something I would have written in college days. Before I became a cynic.

Tits McGee said...

Oh! I neglected to mention that he's nude. Very, very nude.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that by mentioning that she's "clear" she's actually signaling that she's a Scientologist?

Or maybe it's a typo and she meant "clean."

- S. Way

debl said...

It wasn't a typo, because of course the poster was hand-written. I too thought "Scientologist?" Hmm...

Tits, I used to have a Body by Gregg card! On mine, he was in a "frisk me!" pose, hands pressed against a boulder. You couldn't see his face but you definitely could see his fine bubble butt.

The teens only annoy me a little. I know they're having a good time (well, maybe not all good, but certainly exciting and dramatic, which is all I really wanted when I was a teen) but that doesn't mean I need to give them money.

Av, I still bet that even back then you wouldn't have told the world that you enjoy playing a flute that a friend made for you.

debl said...

Hello world. Just signing in.

Poppy Buxom said...

Hey there--I like your blog, so I'm delurking to comment: I lived in Northampton 20 years ago and I don't remember any panhandling. Back then Northampton was the paradise of America for lesbians, and that was its sole claim to fame. There were a few artists and musicians, three or four fun bars, three good movie theaters ... but it wasn't trying to be Harvard Square or anything.

I guess the word has gotten out that Northampton is full of latte-drinking leftie bleeding heart clear vegans who love to play. Or something. So now the homeless panhandling types have glommed onto the place.

Some of the local do-goodie latte drinkers should set up one of those voucher programs so you can hand out vouchers instead of cash. That way you get to be nice, but you don't end up feeding someone's habit.