I was at a taco truck in Los Angeles just around midnight wolfing down a tasty chicken taco when a man asked me for a dollar for the bus. He was unkempt and smelled like he’d been hitting the sauce pretty hard…and I’m not talking about Ragu. He had a film on him. His dingy veneer looked as if it came from hard labor. Like maybe he worked in a mine. But we were in the Silver Lake section of Los Angeles where the only mining happening is Hipsters digging thru second hand clothes bins for T-shirts whose message once meant something to someone but now serve as bragging rights for people trying to thumb their nose at context.
The beggar seemed earnest which made it uncomfortable to say no. Even worse, I was scoffing down a taco and had a scarf looped around my neck. Here’s a guy begging for a buck and I have on a snug scarf in 45 degree (brrr, but not really) whether. Whatever use he intended for the money was probably going to be more valuable to him than what I would have done with it. I just spent five dollars on tacos. No one with a warm home, a half full fridge and a cabinet loaded with non-perishables needs to stop and get a taco at midnight. Especially, if that person is sober like I was (drunk people, get your taco on!)
The former thought occurred to me as I crunched and gnawed. Me eating a taco is not a pretty sight. I eat with intensity. A stranger might mistake it for my first meal in a long long time. Basically, I become an action hero: This time, He’s eating For Keeps!
I stopped chomping for a second and pulled out my spare change. I couldn’t give him a dollar as I don’t like pulling out paper money in case the solicitation is a ruse and it’s really a two man job with the second man waiting to swoop in for my cold cash. Has Brooklyn made me not trusting?
I gave the man a handful of change and he proceeded to run across the street and hop on the bus. He actually used it for the bus! I didn’t think it possible but my taco became even tastier as my beneficiary embarked on his journey. I just hope he hasn’t worked out a “hop on the bus for a stop or two” scam with the bus drivers.