so last night me and my friend caydee decided to go into the city to for something we do every so often called hoboing. it’s a social awareness exercise where we dress up in our most tattered clothes and go panhandling. it’s always a real eye opening experience and, aside from it generally being a super easy way to make $20 or $30, it helps us to better understand and empathize with those less fortunate than us. not that i would exactly call myself “fortunate” by any means. believe me, i’ve got stories that would have even the most desolate street people in tears and leave them with a new sense of gratitude for their own lives however wretched they may have thought they were. still, i think it’s important to experience their particular lot in life.
anyway, caydee found out that you can park in the garage under the state history museum for free after six so that’s what we did. not exactly convenient but i suppose neither is being homeless. we treked several blocks, even making our way across the lawn around the state capital, drinking bottles of thunderbird wine in brown paperbags for added authenticity. if you’ve never had thunderbird, let me tell you, it’s some repugnent tasting shit! but we wanted to have the full homeless experience so it was important that we drink what homeless people drink. and nothing quite gives you that true homeless stench like thunderbird sweating out of your pores! well except maybe shitting yourself and pissing your pants but we weren’t about to do that. well i wasn’t anyway, with it having the potential to cause a very uncomfortable shaffing condition and all. anyway, after a good 15 or so mintue walk we finally got to our destination, the sidewalk infront of the 7–11 at congress and 7th where we set up shop. convenience stores are always a good place to set up camp cause people are always coming out with change and nobody wants the inconvenience of having coins jangling around in their pocket. this makes for near perfect panhandling conditions.
at first everyone was nice to us and for the most part sympathized with our plight. still, a good number of people just ignored us. caydee has a habit of saying “god bless” to those people as they walk away which i personally find offensive. “its not like i beleive in god or nothing,” she said, “but there’s a lot of morons out there that do so if you can get in their head and make them think their not being charitable, they may actually come back around and give you a stack of cash cause they think they’ll end up in hell or something if they don’t.” “still,” i said, “i don’t like it.” i will give it to her though, she definitely cleans-up whenever we do this. i’ve seen the cheapest and greediest looking motherfuckers reconsider walking past us when she makes her sad face and says “please mr., we’re ever so hungry” in that soft sorrowful voice of hers. of course there was that one time when some asshole tried to give us sandwiches then got all pissy when we said we didn’t want sandwiches, we wanted his spare change and dollars.
we were more than an hour into it,with gross proceeds of $7.62 when the first asshole of the night came by. “if you’re so hungry get a job like everyone else!” he said. he was with his girlfriend or wife or something who said “steven, stop it! have some compassion.” she began to unzip her purse. “don’t you dare jeanie! don’t you dare! they want to eat then let them work like everyone else!” it was obvious what side of the political spectrum he sat on, even more so when he launched into one of the typical rants. “everybody wants to complain about the mexicans taking all the jobs. well maybe it’s cause they’re willing to work,, unlike these two shiftless assholes who rather just sit on the goddamn sidewalk asking everyone for handouts!”
“hey, i’ll have you know i strongly oppose trump’s border wall. we both do,” i said. “doesn’t surprise me” he said.” his girlfriend or wife or whatever then opened her purse and took out a 5, handing it to me. “i do apologize for steven’s behavior” she said. “i can’t believe your’e doing that jeanie! i can’t believe you’re doing that!” he said. “oh just shut up steven” she said. “thank you so much m’am,” i said, ‘“but do you have another? you know for caydee.” “i’m sorry,” she said, “that’s all i’ve got right now.” “i saw a 20 when you opened your wallet,” caydee said, “if you don’t want to give it all to me, i can go into the store and have them make change.” “see! see what i mean!” steven said, “they’re never happy with what they get. if you gave these sonsabitches a million dollars they’d be asking for even more.” “no we wouldn’t,” caydee said.
not too long after we encountered steven and his girlfriend or wife or whatever, we had a run-in with an even bigger dickhead than steven (if you can believe that) when these three assholes came around the corner all pretentiously dressed with ties and jackets and stuff. hello?!it’s texas! in the summer! it’s still in the 90s when the sun goes down. who the fuck would be wearing a jacket in this weather, let alone a tie? must be some 1%er bullshit or something. anyway, there was one old bald guy, not totatlly bald, he did have white hair on the sides of his head but for the most part he was bald, and two younger but still old guys. they may have been related or worked together or maybe they were self hating alt. right homosexuals, like milo yannaopolis. either way, old baldie was particularly a prick and started immediately abusing caydee. “you’re ever so hungry huh?” he asked her with a disgusted look. “you sure don’t look hungry to me.” “what the fucks that supposed to mean?” caydee said, “are you calling me fat? you know i had an eating disorder you insensitive sonovabitch! back before, you know, i be came homeless and everything.” “of course you did,” he said. “excuse me?” she said. “it’s always something with you kids today,” he said, “it’s your whole generation — a bunch of lazy, whiny, self-entitled little brats always looking for attention with your eating disorders and your gender identity issues and your social media websites. let me tell you, you don’t find people with eating disorders in starving third world nations!”
“um, excuse me,” i interjected, “anorexia and bullimia are diseases that affect people of all cultures and all walks of life.” “oh, will you get a load of this one,” he said, “what’s your story, you look like an able-bodied young man to me, certainly someone capable of supporting himself and putting a roof over his head.” “this is how i support myself,” i explained, “i been living on the streets my whole life, this is all i know.” “oh really now,” he said, “you look pretty damn good for someone whose been living their whole life on the streets. if i didn’t know better, i‘d say you live with your parents and you’ll be going home to the comfort of their air conditioned house after you’ve duped enough gullible people into handing their hard earned money over to you.” “hey, fuck you! i was thrown out on the streets when i was 7 when my mom decided to marry her asshole boyfriend! he didn’t like kids and said she had to choose between me and him and she chose him and now here i am, making my way in this cold world the only way i know how!”. “oh bullshit!” old baldie said, “i don’t know who or where your parents are but my sympathies go out to them for having to go through each day knowing their flesh and blood created such a pathetic specimen of manhood! you’re a disgrace son! when i was your age, i was serving my country in the u.s. airforce. max here, he was in actual combat, fighting saddam’s republican guard during desert storm.” “3rd infantry division,” max said. “well for someone who used to fight republicans,” i said to him, “you sure seem to enjoy hanging out with them these days.” “you ever hear of the battle of medina ridge?” old baldie asked, “well max was there!” “yeah well my whole life is a battle, living here on the streets” i said, “i have to fight every day just to stay alive!”
“oh the fuck you do!” old baldie said, “if you 2 are really hungry there’s a salvation army shelter just down the road. they’ll be more than willing to feed you and even set you up with a bed for the night.” “dont you think we tried to get in there old man?” i said, “they’re filled to the brim and they ain’t got no more food. you know there’s over ten million homeless people here in austin alone and if you aint one of the first hundred or so that manages to get into a shelter then your shit outta luck.” “there are not 10 million homeless people in austin you pinhead,” said old baldie. “are too,” i said. “there isn’t even 10 million non-homeless people in new york city, the biggest city in the country, and you’re gonna tell me austin has 2 million more homeless people than the entire population of new york?!” old baldie said. “well if you count the surrounding communities,” i said. “you’re talking through your asshole son,” he said.” “you can turn a blind eye to it,” i said, “but the problem isn’t going away. worst of all, your president has cut funding for homeless resources and the state hasn’t got any money left for funding on account of all the tax breaks they been giving to scum bag companies like apple.” “yeah, big bad apple,” said old baldie, “they only employ what, 5,000 people in this town?” “hey isn’t that an iphone the girl has there,” the other guy who wasn’t old baldie or max said. “yeah what of it,” said caydee. “well if you and yoyr boyfriend here think they’re such scumbags then why you buying their products?” old baldie said, “and just where does a homeless young lady like yourself get $600 to buy an iphone?” “or pay the bill every month,” said the guy who wasn’t old baldie or max, “and where do they even send the bill if you don’t have a home to send it to?” “it’s an obama phone,” caydee said. “sure it is,” old baldie said.
just then a police car pulled to the curb. the cop inside rolled down the window and said “hey guys, no loitering outside the store, okay.” “i was hoping an officer of the law such as yourself would come along and tell them exactly that,” old baldie said. “you can’t tell us to leave,” i said, “it’s a free country, we know our rights.” “actually,” said the cop, “ i can. and city ordinance prohibits panhandling after 7 so you two are technically breaking the law. now how ‘bout you just move on.” i raised my arms in the air and exclaimed “hands up! don’t shoot!”. “all right, enough jackass,” he said, “i don’t want to get out of this car anymore than you want me to put you in it so just move on.” “come on,” caydee said to me, “don’t become another freddie grey. let’s just go. we’ll have the opportunity to continue the fight another day.”
all and all it was a decent night. not a great night, but decent with us cracking the $30 mark between the two of us. still, it makes me sad how many people just walked on by without giving us anything, especially given that we were in austin which is supposedly one of the more socially conscious cities in this country.