Monday, June 19, 2006

Up again, down again

Yesterday morning I was making my way up Highway 13 on my way in to work. As I neared the top of the hill I looked over my left shoulder to see if the road was clear. It usually is at 5am, but I check anyway. In my peripheral vision I noticed something was actually on my shoulder. I looked again and it was a dragonfly (or damselfly, I never can tell). It was just hanging out, hitchhiking along. I crossed 13 and headed up Sibley Memorial Highway. I looked over my shoulder again, and it was still there. As I approached highway 55 I checked one more time. Still there. This is about three miles of riding with this bug on my back. It was cool. Once I reached 55 I slowed down and turned to get on the path so I could cross the bridge. The fly took this as a good place to disembark, because when I checked my shoulder at the top of the hill it was gone. When most commuters encounter a dragonfly, it's as a smear on their windshield, not as a passenger. It was a nice brush-with-nature kind of moment that made me feel good the rest of the way in.

After showering at the downtown Y, I was approached by a homeless guy. He came toward me with a bus transfer in his hand. I'd been scammed by the "hey mister, I just need one dollar so I can take the bus to visit my sick kid/sister/mother" approach when I was naive and new to working downtown. After that, my policy has been that I don't give money to the homeless. After working in downtown Minneapolis for 9 years, I can usually tell who really needs some help and who's looking for quick cash. This guy didn't need help. In Minneapolis, most of the ones who are working the prime commuter hours are doing just that, working. He thrust the bus transfer at me and grunted. I said, "No, sorry, I don't want the transfer." and tried to move off. He grunted again in a way that made me think he couldn't speak. He pointed at the transfer, and written in ball point it said "my dad died, please help, god bless" I was tempted, but even if I wanted to I didn't have any cash so again I said "No thanks, sorry." I started to pull my bike out of the rack. At this point he realized I wasn't buying. As he walked away he said, very clearly and with decent enunciation, "Fuck off, bike fag."

Date: June 20
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
June mileage: 217
Year to date mileage: 1679


Doug said...

I had a gig as a weekend security guard from 1992-97 at 8th and Hennipen. So I've heard them all and then some. I know what it's like. At first I gave in. But after I gave a guy bus fare, because his mother was sick, and then two hours later I saw him pull out his bus card to board a bus. From then on I had a new personal policy. I didn't hand out any money to anybody for any reason. Some people still wouldn't give up.

Tex69 said...

wow, does the heart proud.

i gave some $$ to a woman 'bout a year ago with the story of kids/outofgas/etc. after i gave her some, i had another errand up the street. maybe 30min later, i saw her again, not looking in a hurry, and working somebody else over.

Jim said...

Over the years, I've handed out lots of money to all sorts of seemingly unfortunate people in seemingly difficult circumstances. More often then not, I think I was being scammed. It doesn't really affect my life to hand over a dollar once in awhile, but I still would like to see it going to a good purpose. So my latest approach is one I call "screw the homeless". Not literally, of course.

Pete said...

My approach now is to try and give money to organizations that will help people in these circumstances. It's attacking the problem from the other side. It may not help, but who knows.