There's this homeless guy who I've been sizing up lately. When I see him he's in this sitting area in a park next to where I work. It's a rather elaborate children's park which took most of a year to build. But the parents rarely bring their kids there, preferring Plaza de Cesar Chavez, which is actually near something interesting, and a lot of homeless people live in the new park now. Instead of building a homeless shelter the city built this park that nobody wanted, so I guess it works out.
So I'd been thinking of giving this guy some money. I see him there nearly every morning when I go by. I hear specious arguments. Maybe he's lazy, maybe he doesn't want to work, but he sleeps on a fucking rock outside, so I want to gratify my urge to grace others with my generosity. The trouble is I've been so lazy myself that I get to work long after he's left the park for the morning.
I hope he doesn't think I gave him the money because I'm swept up in the current trendy patriotic fervor. I was this way before everybody else got jolted with their mortality... screw them for being so selfish they have to feel the touch of death before they'll think of anyone else.
Today when I was walking to the bus stop from work I saw him. He was talking with some other homeless people, and I'd decided this was a bad time, because if I gave him some cash I'd have to give them all some to be fair, and I wasn't prepared to pay out as much as that. But as I was passing them, he approached me. "Excuse me," he said. "Do you think you could help me out, maybe help me get something to eat...." Without replying I put down the stuff I was carrying, got out my wallet and handed him a twenty. "Be my guest," I said.
Thankfully he didn't gush with gratitude-- I'm one of those selfish people who likes to do something nice and then flee before anybody can thank them --he seemed to take it in stride. He thanked me. "Hey," he said. "Whatever it is you're going in life..." He made the devil-horns sign at me. "...bless you." He continued to wish me well, as did his friends, as I continued on my way.
A black guy at the bus stop was hustling tickets to a concert at the arena. He would alternately try to buy tickets and try to sell tickets to people who were walking past. I guess he was buying and reselling at a higher price. It took this one Indian guy about six or seven times to understand what he was saying, leaving both of them frustrated by the end.
On the bus home, a guy with a briefcase immediately struck up a conversation with me, asking me if I did computer stuff as a job. He made key-typing motions whenever he approached this concept. "Yes, I do... doesn't everybody?" I said. He made the gesture again, asking if I, you know... he wiggled his fingers. I supposed he was asking if I was a programmer, and I told him no, I just used a computer.
He scooted over to me and confided to me that in his briefcase was the number of a bank account containing $4000, and that he was looking for a hacker or cracker to get the money out of it. I hadn't any idea how this would be done, and I told him so. He asked me if I knew where the hackers hung, and I told him I didn't know that, either. He thanked me, shook my hand, and he and his girlfriend got off the bus.
A couple of minutes later I realized he could have gotten the money easily if he'd had a fake ID created with the name of the account holder. He could then simply walk into any bank and withdraw the money. If I see him again I shall have to tell him.
A few days later, I discovered the Starbuck's cart in the cafeteria was unlocked. I boosted a bagful of the $2 cookies and left them on the table in the park. I tried one myself on the way there... they were quite good. I'd stolen candy bars and Oreos from the senior staff to give to the homeless, but these were even better.