I have a fondness for the homeless as you may well know.
However, I cannot stand someone who is a rude drug addict.
If you want money, ask me, don’t give me some long drawn out lie or convoluted story.
At that point, I have no morals that drive me to help you.
For example, there is a section of Portland, that the homeless will flock around you like moths to a bug zapper the minute you step off the train.
But I have a fix for that.
Drug-addled beggars live in crazy enough, they tend to shy away from crazy outside their own head.
I had just exited the train in Downtown Portland, near the convention center, when a young guy, probably in his early 20’s, approached me. He looked like shit. 20 going on 55. He was thin, dirty, hair a messy mat. He had several “Crack boils” on his face. A crack boil is when someone is tweaking for their drug so bad that they scratch holes in themselves because their skin is crawling.
The best defense is a good offense. Go crazy first.
I speak before he speaks.
“John? Good, your here!” I am smiling and happy to see him. You can see the gears turning in his head. Does he know me? Is my name John? Before he can come to any conclusions, I hit him again.
“Mom’s party is at three, don’t be late. Did you get a gift?” Once again, he is thoroughly confused. When is Mom’s party? A gift? Odds are his mom is not his daily confidant at this point, so having her birthday current in his thoughts is iffy at best.
“Tell you what, give me the money and I will get the gift for you.” I hold out my hand.
His brain has ground to a halt and he cannot focus. Way to much weird info and he is overwhelmed.
At this point, he walks away. Really it is the only option, otherwise, he has to begin sifting thru the questions shrieking in his head.
I would feel bad but I honestly don’t. We have been over it, you and I, and you need to accept that. I don’t see things changing any time soon.
It is odd that I never felt the desire to treat Garrett like this. For those who haven’t read the tragic tale of my friend Garrett, he was a homeless guy that I ate bagels with and discussed Coffee shop corporate environmental policy with. A gentle soul who was unable to shake drugs and, in the end. they killed him.
But I never felt like messing with him. He was polite and usually coherent.
I have a bit of a sales background and presentation is everything.
Maybe its just like real estate. Location, location, location. Run into a homeless guy down near the beach, surrounded by million dollar homes, it feels safe enough to take him serious and get to know him.
Run into a guy in a crappy part of town and they only thing I feel like doing is be an ass for my own amusement. (Its kind of a recurring theme). No idea who this guy is other than some poor druggy with holes he scratched in his own damn face.
Plus, I didn’t have any change.