Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Friday, September 30, 2005

Charity Leads To Unemployment

And Possibly Nosebleeds, I'm Still Looking Into That One...

I knew better. I absolutely did. I went ahead and let my good nature get the better of my judgement, though.

When the seedy-looking guy sidled up next to me at the Transit Center last night, and begged for enough cash to get a bus pass, I should have just given him the Evil Eye and walked away. I very rarely give out cash to bums beggars panhandlers Voluntary Urban Outdoorsmen. I donate to various charities through my office, and freely toss money at the needy when the situation warrants it (i.e. Katrina and Rita), but giving out my small change and dollar bills to the guy on the street mostly goes towards propping up the Thunderbird and Night Train sales, and rarely towards what the person says it will pay for.

Now, the times I've been in Chicago, Boston, or NYC, where it's common to have a musician playing in the train stations with his guitar or sax case open for donations, I'll gladly drop in some bux if he/she's halfway decent. They're providing some entertainment in return for my patronage. Beggars in ancient times used to spin tales of mystery and imagination to passersby, in return for enough coins to get them to the next town down the road. Hell, the one time I asked one of the regular bums at the downtown bus station to tell me a good joke in return for my cash, from the reactions of the bum and the other commuters, you'd have thought I'd asked him to drop trou and spread his buttcheeks for my amusement. All I wanted was something other than the same old line about "I just need somethin' to eat..." Dude. The soup kitchen's 5 blocks over, and it's free. We both know this...

So, when this guy last night asked me for whatever I could spare, I thought about it for a couple of seconds, thought about this guy, who almost lost his home, and this guy, who DID lose his home, realized I'm pretty fortunate, and my Grinch-like heart softened up enough to drag out my stash of quarters and give the guy 2 or 3 bux, assuming he would immediately hop on one of the local bus routes out of the Transit Center.

Hah. He walked around for a bit, hitting up people here and there, then... and this is the part that just pisses me off beyond belief... walked right past me AFTER TELLING ME 3 MINUTES EARLIER HE NEEDED BUS FARE!!! hopped the fence, and quickly walked away from the transit center. Last I saw of him, he was heading towards 610 as fast as his legs would carry him. Must've been a licka sto' around the corner, I'm guessing. No, there are no bus stops in that direction. I looked.

So, my faith in human nature crushed once again, I vow never to crack the wallet again for anyone on the street, and head home. You might think it would all end there.

Oh, no, Grasshopper! These things have farther reaching consequences than you can imagine...

I'm heading to work this morning, just in the nick of time to catch the 8:46 into downtown, and I reach the bus stop just as I discover that my wallet (with bus pass and all my cash) is still home sitting on my desk. If I go back for it, I'm gonna be late for work. I won't be able to get back in time for the 9:05 bus, and the next one after that's not arriving until 10:15 or so. I might be really phuct, here.

Wait! I don't need a bus pass! I've got a stash of quarters.... which all got given to a lying bum last night. I AM phuct.

So, a 15 minute drive back to the house, followed by a high-speed run down I-10 to downtown, and I'm pulling into the parking garage at 9:20. I'm never this late... The garage spot is gonna cost me $9, not to mention that $2.80/gal gas expenditure. All for a handful of quarters.

Walking into the building past the Tranquility Park landscape crew, I get a healthy dose of pollen, grass clippings, fungus, and whatever else gets kicked up when they mow and use their air blowers. That sets me to sneezing, and due to the weird weather we've had lately, my sinuses are already on edge. I just sit down to my desk when I have this gigantic sneezing fit that tears a nasal capillary, spraying blood all over my monitor and keyboard (Yum!) Nosebleeds at home suck. Nosebleeds at work are intolerable. Fortunately, the bathroom across the hall is unoccupied for once, and I've got one of the new-fangled EZ-stop kits in my carryall.

So, it's been a hell of a day so far. Yeah, it's ultimately my fault for forgetting the wallet, and I was really in no danger of being fired, but still... there's a bit of evil juju gnawing on my keister today!