Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The afternoon of crazy street encounters

It seems that hot weather has brought all the crazy in the capital city. When I first moved to the big city of Ottawa from small town Thessalon, I can remember feeling a little uneasy about the street bums, but the longer I've been here, the more I have become accustom to the lunatics that walk the street in broad daylight.

Today... however as I was walking to pick up the car after school, I was forced to walk through a narrow semi-enclosed tunnel (due to the massive amounts of building construction going on these days). While in the tunnel I hear this: 'hey you smokin hot bitch, wanna give me some money?'

Here's what ran through my head:
Ahhhhhhhh... let me think on that one for a minute, after all he did call me smokin hot, but followed it up with the word bitch. Geeee... I just spent my last dime on Timbit, SORRY, but I just can't accomodate your request today, however you have yourself a really nice afternoon SIR.

Honestly... I breezed by the guy without saying a word, but gave a friendly half-ass smirk so he was aware I heard him. Thinking that was the end of my crazy encounter, I headed straight to lights, and as I cross the intersection at Bank and Slater, some crazy lady comes out of nowhere and says 'I'm going blind... I need your sunglasses, your too pretty, you don't need them...pleeeeeeeeease my eyes.'

Okay... so again, I paused, but then continued walking past the lady giving everyone around me the 'WHY ME' look. As I got to the car I replayed her request in my head thinking this:
You do need your eyes checked lady if you think I'm too pretty, and while the sunglasses I am currently sporting only cost me $6, I kinda like them, and well... seeing as you are practically blind anyways, these sunglasses won't exactly solve your problem.... so I think I'll keep them, but thanks for offering to take them off my hands for me.

Everytime I have an encounter with a homeless/street person I always have to analyze my actions, or in these cases, non-actions. This was the case today during my drive home. I asked myself about a dozen times 'Am I acting to good for the less fortunate...?' Yes, it appears so, BUT, I don't think I am too good, I just don't believe in giving money to a guy that looks like he's hammered at 4 pm in the afternoon. And, as for the sunglasses, well... I take the approach that they are mine, I earned the right to buy them, and I feel entitled to my earnings. Now, if I really thought this was going to save the lady's eyesight, I would have given her the sunglasses, but she looked more like she was high, then suffering from some cronic eye disease.

As usual, this whole incident has left me guilt stricken... in the past I have been known to donate a few bucks to local homeless man who I used to see on my way to work every morning. On the cold winter mornings he would be outside the Rideau Centre, POLITELY asking for some 'spare change', and although I was reluctant to give at his first request, the more times he looked me in the eye the more times I recognized him, and finally did offer up some change on a regular basis. It felt good to help out a man that proved to me his situation was real. I doubt I would have received the same gratification today if I had gave some money to the not so smokin hot crazy man.

I dunno... I can analyze and reanalyze each encounter... but the fact of the matter is that these crazy people (or not so crazy people) tend to get to me even thought I like to pretend they don't. Does anyone else have these street encounters that you analyze?? Do you have a heart of stone when it comes to street people, or do you tend help them out? C'mon you big city slickers, how do you deal with your street people encounters?