Friday, March 14, 2008

Who do you want answering the phone?

I spare no expense for hobos. Literally. Any request of the form, "spare some _____" will get a big ole "I'm too busy with my own thoughts even to pretend I didn't hear you" look out of me. If I ever did have the kind of money where I could just blow it on the homeless, I would instead use it to buy them copies of Atlas Shrugged. Anyway, the other day I was heading through the Fulton St. subway station when this guy at a pay phone asked me, with convincing earnestness, for a quarter. "Here," I think, "is a man in a pickle. A hard working Joe who is caught without any change and clearly needs to place a phone call. No surprise: with the prevalence of credit cards, it's not a wonder he hasn't got a quarter. And his cell phone could be out of juice, or in his other pants. This is a man," thought I, "who needs only to make one quick, urgent call. He certainly isn't looking for a leisure quarter or booze money, and he certainly isn't without a home. He could very well be calling his home. I have a quarter. I will give this tragic hero my quarter. Here you go, noble sir, MAKE THAT CALL!"

Several days later, I saw the same man at the same phone asking for quarters in the same "this never happens to me, I can't believe this is happening to me" tone of voice. He was a very clever hobo. I did not give him a quarter and he called me a faggot. I suppose we all adapt.