Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Been doing a lot of night time L riding lately

Tonight I ran into a lady who's often been on the L begging. She isn't a bad looking lately but in honing her act to get people to give money to her she may not be able to afford to look good. I noticed that she was dirty especially going towards the cuffs of her jeans and her shoes.

Tonight she was feigning crying. I saw no tears and she was even wiping the "tears" away. Not sure she was crying, since I saw no tears I thought it was all fake.

Also it's been a few years since I saw her begging on the trains. She's been on crutches for years. Not sure if it's just a lingering injury or another part of the shtick.

All the same, people will still give money to her. Those who are unfamiliar with her activity and those who are tired of her act. I won't do it.

I didn't do it tonight, but on the train much earlier I gave a young man a dollar. He was promoting a program that claims that they're young men who are turning their lives around. I don't totally believe that shtick, but I would like to say that I did my good deed for the night. That's only if this young man's shtick is genuine!

1 comment:

Rob Ross said...

I've often found that panhandlers take an almost business-like approach to collecting money. I commute into the Loop every day, and I regularly see the same people in the same spot at nearly the same time of day. I'm not sure how to feel about this. Clearly, many panhandlers have resigned themselves to their situation, falling into a regular pattern of begging by day, doing whatever by night (I wonder how much the average panhandler actually makes). Some, like your CTA lady, have even embraced their situation and begun to innovate new ways to gather money. And in many ways, I appreciate a good shtick more than a genuine story, which tend to be really depressing and off-putting. But is their innovative money-gathering really the result of an absolute loss of hope? Their situation almost has a Milton-esque quality, "make a Hell of Heave and a Heaven of Hell."

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