I read in some book where the author warned against befriending the neighborhood addicts. Like stray animals, once you start feeding them (so to speak) they won’t go away. Don’t know if you remember this post, but I adhere to a hard and fast rule about panhandling in that I do not participate. (usually) This rule mainly applies to folk that are just passing through. If I don’t see you begging for money on a regular basis, then the chance of you getting any money from me is next to none.
But back to this next character, we’ll call him Jon because he told me that was his name. He’s broken man. A pronounced limp, scraggly beard, wears a beat up ball cap and maintains a Pig-Pen like aura about him. He hustles at the same gas station as that newspaper-window-washer dude. In fact, he has the same hustle as the newspaper-window-washer dude AND for a small time period Jon and NWWD were competing to be ignored by the majority of this Chevron’s customers.
I buy gas often, so I see Jon often, and seeing someone everyday breeds a certain familiarity. He asks to either clean my windows or pump my gas. I never let him do either. For whatever reason, he talks to me, even introduced me to his son. (an odd moment indeed) Well I know the reason, it’s because even though I don’t let him dirty up my windows with the dirty cleaning fluid they keep at Chevron, or pump gas in my car, I do give him money. Last couple of times I’ve seen him, I’ve been uncharacteristically flush with cash and hit him off with a fiver. (which is a panhandler no-no) Now when I see him he greets me with more enthusiasm. It doesn’t bother me anymore. I give him a pound and then disinfect my hands with sanitizer when I get in the car.