So the other day I went to one of the carts downtown. It’s one of my favorites and I was one of the reasons they started using a number system – they accidentally gave my food to someone else. But I digress. Upon receiving my order they paid me my change in all ones. As he was counting it back it seemed like he must have given me an extra dollar, so as soon as I moved from the window, I went to a table to recount the change. As I was just beginning this process, a gentleman approached and asked me for money. I’ve been known lately to hand over duckets on the street. After living in Berkeley for several years I got really jaded, and stopped giving to folks on the street completely. But several months ago, I gave some money to the guy who walks around in a blanket with the matted hair. That guy has a special place in my heart. And also stupidly gave some money to a young girl who claimed to “be stuck in Portland after coming here from Seattle for an internet date” that went awry and now she needed a hotel room. Well, I could identify with that. How many of us haven’t been stuck in another state due to a crappy internet date. Oh. Just me?
Call me naive, but I was really hoping her story was true. But then several days ago I saw her again, and she asked me again for money. Which doesn’t necessarily mean she was lying it could just be really hard to get money to get back to Seattle. I’m just sayin’. So all that said. I’ve become jaded again. And when Mr. Man accosted me, I was a little annoyed. I didn’t show it, but I did say, holding a fistful of dollar bills, “No, Sorry.” He responded, to the air behind me, “I’m just trying to buy some lunch. And I’m just short a dollar.” Hoping I would sense the universal irony in my evilness. I went back to counting.
After lunch I went with spaceninja for a walk to the RiteAid just up the street. On our way back, Mr. Man stops us and speaks to spaceninja, “So how about this. If you needed money, and you asked me I would give it to you.”
Spaceninja: “I’m sorry, I’m not following.”
Mr. Man: Repeats himself, a little more agitated.
I stand there quietly. I knew where this passive aggressive diatribe was going, and I could speak up, but figured it would just exacerbate the situation if I spoke to the earlier thing. So I sat tight.
Spaceninja: “Sir, are you mad at me?”
Mr. Man: “Uh no.” Realizing somewhat that the plan of attack is backfiring as he’s approached the most well-adjusted person in Portland. “No I was just saying if you ever needed money…”
Spaceninja: “Oh. Ok. Sorry.”
We walk away. And I explain to spaceninja my earlier karmic infractions that had led to his trouble.
I felt bad for like a second. I mean I would never enjoy my friends having to deal with my choices with the homeless folks, but seriously, dude – I’m just not giving money on the street today, ok? I don’t explain myself to you, I don’t need you to explain yourself to me.
But later I realized it was a classic example of passive aggressiveness! I had never experienced that on the street before. With my mother? Yes. Seen it taken to an artform in the hands of the Lebanese mother of a guy I dated once. Yes. A homeless guy? Never. Until today. Kudos, Mr. Man.