Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"Interesting" conversation with a homeless man

As you know, there is quite a homeless population around the Civic Center Station. I've had memorable experiences with them in the past decade, from making weekly donations in the beginning to the same man until I realized I'm not helping him, to having a homeless man point a toy gun to my head, to witnessing public urination in broad daylight.

Today was interesting...even enlightening, in a weird way. I was walking out of Starbucks with a cup of coffee, looking for my shuttle, when a homeless man (HM) yells to me:

HM: Hey you, got five dollars to spare?
Me: No, sorry I don't.
HM: **ck you then. Look at you and your fancy caffe latte. You don't have five **ck** dollars for me. **ck you. (He was looking straight at me, and about less than 3 feet away)
Me: I honestly don't. Sorry.
HM: Sorry my ass. **ck you. Can't I make a decent living around here??

I quickly walked away and into my shuttle for safety. I was a bit shocked by his last statement. "Decent living"? That's what he calls panhandling and harassing passerbys who don't have money to give? And what's with asking for FIVE dollars? What happened to "any change?" I guess inflation affects them too.


Erik said...

Clearly you aren't making a decent living if you don't have $5 for him.

Anonymous said...

SF is an expensive town.

bartmusings said...

You're right. Haha. Cost of living in SF is quite high...even for homeless I guess.

Anonymous said...

LOL! I thought Gavin was doing something about the homeless in the downtown area?

As long as they don't shelter in place on a train or in the station.

Anonymous said...

Many years ago my wife worked in fisherman's wharf. One particular "homeless" man was out in front of her store or a nearby one every day. He looked the typical homeless look, unkempt, dirty clothes. He'd lie on the sidewalk propped up on a dirty bag filled with who-knows-what and asked/demanded money from passersby.

After a while she noticed he left around the same time every day, and the manner of his leaving was rather funny. He would open his bag and pull out a rather nice leather jacket. Then he proceeded to walk into the fisherman's wharf parking lot, hopped in to a 2-3 year old Toyota and drove away. Over time, she and her co-workers teased the guy's story from him. He lived in the north bay, commuted into the city every day and made enough in "spare change" from tourists to support himself....

While he may not be the typical homeless guy, don't assume all "homeless" are actually without homes. At the time that guy probably made more annually than I did.

I never give the homeless a dime. It doesn't help them, it only hurts.