Saturday, January 9, 2010

the picky begger?

I'm getting ready for Keith Grauman's "1st Annual Chili Cook-Off" today. I woke up at 8am, and got out of bed around 10. I checked the temperature. -9 F. (F as in Fahrenheit, or Fucking Freezing). I put on as many layers as possible, and walked to Mississippi Market.

Lentils...Check. Serrano Peppers....Check. Mustard Seeds....Check. Green Juice for breakfast....Check.

I left the Co-op with 31 dollars less than I came in with. Oh well. I picked up some staples while I was there too.... (i.e. canola oil, dried red chillies, etc...). I got to the end of the (short) block and this Asian dude comes running towards me, waving his hands.

"Sir, Sir", he asked, trying to get my attention. Usually, when someone calls me "Sir", I am annoyed and just ignore them...but when it's winter, and I'm wearing 2 hats, 3 pairs of pants, 3 shirts and 2 jackets....I take on a pretty androgynous look, I guess. Anyhow, I stop for the dude...knowing he's gonna ask for money (you can see it in his eyes).

"Sir....Oh, Mamm, Mamm, can you give me a couple dollars, I want to buy some noodles, some ramen noodles", and he pointed to the co-op. "Sure", I said, and suggested we walk into the market together. "Oh, I don't think they have them here", he said. "Let's find out", I replied, and started walking towards store.

We get inside, and walk down the "ethnic" aisle. "How bout these", I ask, pointing to the rice vermicelli noodles? He said no. "How bout these", I ask, pointing to the ramen noodles. Nope, those wont work either (even though it's specifically what he asked for).

He said the noodles he wants are at "Sun Foods" on University and Dale (which is about 6 blocks from where we are). "Too bad", I wanted to say, but instead I said "Well, you said Ramen Noodles, which are right here, and I'll get them for you if you want". He declined. I said "Sorry then, I can't help you", and walked (with him) out of the store and home.

Now...I am a picky eater...those who have raised me, lived with me, or dated me can attest to this. But here's the thing....if I am hungry, and someone offers me food, you damn well better believe I will eat it, and I will be grateful for it.

This dude was obviously just interested in my money. When people ask me for money (usually in my neighborhood, coming home from the bar or coffee shop), I often say I don't have any. There's one lady who always asks me for bus money, and I never have any....perhaps because she switches from needing bus money to money for gas for her sisters car a few blocks away.

When people ask me for money for food...I usually don't give money. If I have food with me (either just purchased, or leftovers) I will offer what I have. Sometimes folks will take it. Other times they wont. It kind of separates those who actually want food, and those who just want money.

If someone came up to me and said "Can I get a few dollars for a beer", I would just go to the Pub with them and sit for a beer. Chances are, they have an interesting story....and I'd be willing to bet, not many people who take the time to listen.

Out of curiosity....what do you do when you see someone asking for food/work/money?

No comments: