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By Pasofol (Thu May 18, 2006 at 10:18:24 AM EST) (all tags)
I mean the homeless ones and not the buttocks ones.

Living in a large city which holds probably more than its share of homeless.  I've encountered more than my share of them.

Today another one stood out.



Was at Scarborough Town Centre Mall heading back home from a strange interview.  When I noticed 3 security guards near the entrance to the subway.  First thought maybe they stopped a shop lifter since they seem to have been around 3 girls 17 or so years old and one of them was showing her purse.  I didn't mind and proceeded towards the entrance.  Wasn't sure if the guards were cops or not until I got close enough; their clothes are too similar from the distance.  They should wear like pink sweaters or something to see the difference.  Since they have no authority under the law(I hope).  Anyway I noticed they were asking a bum to leave the area.  It was/is a rainy day, so felt sorry for the guy.  It was sheltered area and if he doesn't bug people too much let him be.  He had a huge sign written on cardboard paper, about 1.5m by .4m.  It said he's homeless, down on his luck, and asking for money to sum it up.  He seemed like the drunken type so might have been harassing some people who knows.

Through out the city I've encountered number of bums.  Some or nice, some scary, and some crazy.

The local bum, which is scary since he stalks the bank.  Asking for money when people enter/exit the bank.  He's also the asshole type which specifies the amount he should be given, last time I remember he was asking for only toonies.  Since he's the local type, I've heard/talked to him enough to know somethings about him.  He's on welfare due to some non-sense disability.  He's fit enough to do manual labour if he wanted to.  But instead prefers the monthly pay check from the government.  I haven't seen him around lately so I assume the bank took action to get rid of him.

The nice bums.  Usually found around early afternoon downtown.  One being the St. Patrick bum as I call him.  He's at least creative with his begging, and sometimes spells out Happy St. Patrick day out of pennies or whatever holiday it is.  Another being the Native American one/s by Bloor and Spadina.  Usually ask politely for change and move own.  Some of them even saying thanks anyway, NP so on.

Crazy/aggressive/lying Ones mostly found around tourist locations.  One place often found is by the bus station/terminal (Dundas and Bay).  They tend to stand by you asking for change/money until you give them something otherwise they won't leave you alone if you just say no.  The more aggressive ones know better than to do it inside the station.  The ones inside usually lie instead of using the stalking/scare tactics.  They use sympathy instead, claiming that they have to go home and don't have money for it usually pointing out random locations like London Ontario.  I know its a lie since I was using the station too much last summer and noticed the same guy over and over with same routine.  Was going to buy him a ticket to prove it to myself, until I realised they are refundable less a restocking fee or such and would have walked away with my money anyway.

I do miss the squeegee kids.  I guess the by-law making it illegal worked to some degree.  They didn't bother me but could be because I didn't/don't drive.  They were often in their leather jackets waiting for stop signs to turn red.  Some were decent guys only going to people willing to pay, others more aggressive washing even when not wanted.  But at least they attempted to earn their money, unlike alot of others.  I assume they got other jobs or something since I don't seem them around that much.  At least during the day time.

It's kind of funny how the time of day brings out the different types of people.  Remember getting home early one time using the grey hound, around 5am.  This brought out the zombie type bums, not wake enough to ask for money but on their feet trying to get somewhere and in the process scaring the sit out of the early business people.  Remember one woman zig-zagging across dundas by young to avoid every single one in her business suit.

Feel free to comment on the subject or my biased observations of the matter.

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We have some winners by ad hoc (4.00 / 2) #1 Thu May 18, 2006 at 10:27:49 AM EST
There's a pair of women, one in a wheelchair looking as pathetic as she can. The one doing the pushing does the begging. The woman in the chair coughs or lolls depending on the weather. They take up residence at one of the very long crossing lights on  one of the few streets that are too busy to jaywalk. They're very aggressive, and lately the cops have been taking to just forcing them on their way.

I should do a survey.
--
Close friendships and a private room can offer most of the things love does.

Wheelchairs by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #11 Thu May 18, 2006 at 11:39:15 AM EST
It is not uncommon where I am to see guys pushing empty wheelchairs away from prime panhandling areas.

It's rare to find aggressive ones in SF...they passed a law against it about ten years ago and it seems to have worked.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
SF by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 0) #14 Thu May 18, 2006 at 12:28:23 PM EST
I've been to NY and LA and lots of cities in between but SF had more homeless people than anywhere I've ever seen.

I was there for a trade show and we had to walk from our hotel to the convention center and we passed the same ones in the same location every day. They seemed to have their own spots reserved for them.

Warmest regards,
--Your best pal Bob

[ Parent ]
Heh by ad hoc (2.00 / 0) #16 Thu May 18, 2006 at 12:48:54 PM EST
My brother was here babysitting my dog while I was off on my ride a couple of years ago. He ran into the same woman in front of the subway station every day who would hit him up with the same appeal every day. Finally he said "You need to broaden your horizons. Find some fertile territory."
--
Close friendships and a private room can offer most of the things love does.
[ Parent ]
That's where they all are by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #18 Thu May 18, 2006 at 01:07:19 PM EST
The convention center is a bum magnet. They don't ten to hang out as much where people actually work.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
The guy today by blixco (4.00 / 1) #2 Thu May 18, 2006 at 10:30:53 AM EST
at MoPac and RM 2222: "Ninjas Killed My Family, Need Cash to Hire Pirates!"

He was rotating several signs.  All of them were funny.
---------------------------------
Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco

good signs i have seen in toronto: by 256 (4.00 / 1) #5 Thu May 18, 2006 at 10:37:50 AM EST
"ninjas killed my family, need money for kung-fu lessons"

"homeless jedi, need money to get lightsaber out of hock"

"spare cash or weed. but none of that local crap. bc hydro only please. even bums have standards."
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I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni

[ Parent ]
Yup there's the old standby by spacejack (2.00 / 0) #6 Thu May 18, 2006 at 10:43:41 AM EST
"Spare change for beer and drugs? Hey at least I'm honest!"

[ Parent ]
As seen in Seattle by MartiniPhilosopher (2.00 / 0) #10 Thu May 18, 2006 at 11:22:28 AM EST
"Imagining a down payment on a cheeseburger"

Whenever I hear one of those aforementioned douche bags pontificate about how dangerous [...] videogames are I get a little stabby. --Wil Wheaton.

[ Parent ]
waiting for stop signs to turn red? by 256 (4.00 / 3) #3 Thu May 18, 2006 at 10:33:44 AM EST
what color are they usually?

two anecdotes:

1-- there is this guy who always spares for change outside the tim hortons near the courier hub. i have  had short, usually weather based, conversations with him a few times.

last week, a blind man started panhandling on the opposite corner. the original guy felt that his turf had been invaded and entreated me to help him beat up the blind guy, insisting that he was not actually blind.

i declined and advised him against this course of action. he did not seem to hold my advice in particular regard, but fortunately he also did not seem confident in his ability to rough up a blind man single-handed.

2-- one day i was getting money out of the bank machine at bloor and spadina late at night and one of the native homeless me who are always there approached me as i exited the atm vestibule.

he asked for some money and i told him i had no change. he then asked for twenty dollars and i said "sorry, no" and continued on my way. he followed me and put his hand on my shoulder and turned me around and again demanded twenty dollars. he was pretty large and also clearly drunk. i punched him hard just below the rib-cage, winding him, and then walked away.

i felt totally gross for the rest of the night. on the one hand, the situation had definitely crossed the line between panhandling and inept mugging. but on the other hand, i had just beaten up a homeless dude.
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I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni

"amber" (nt) by Driusan (2.00 / 0) #4 Thu May 18, 2006 at 10:36:57 AM EST


--
Vive le Montréal libre.
[ Parent ]
Lights, signs doesnt matter. by Pasofol (2.00 / 0) #7 Thu May 18, 2006 at 10:43:46 AM EST
The things on the ground sticking out making cars go vroom, vroom.(Vroom actually a word, friend always likes using it in scrabble)I'm normally a cyclist and don't obey them.  Not like I have a G1 even, or plan on getting one.  If so cops would require to see it and subtract points due to my cycling.

[ Parent ]
once he put his hands on you by clover kicker (4.00 / 1) #8 Thu May 18, 2006 at 11:05:45 AM EST
You didn't have much choice.

If you'd hit him a second time, you'd have something to feel bad about.

[ Parent ]
Crazy "australian" guy by skippy (4.00 / 1) #9 Thu May 18, 2006 at 11:06:20 AM EST
A month or two ago, some random guy (his clothes were clean and not shabby) approached me as I was walking past a bus stop.  "Are you from around here?  Oh good, you're the first person I've talked to today who's from [city]."

Me: "Uh huh, right, anyways..." Please, interrupt me before I can ask if you need directions or what the deal is.  You know, I really want to listen to your rambling story, but just maybe you actually have a point here.

"So anyways I'm in town from Australia right, see my kangaroo tattoo here [very very faded and looks like he got it 20 years ago] so a friend and I are in town and we're heading up to [nearby resort city] but I wanted to stay in town here so we're at [local expensive hotel] and I sent him ahead with the luggage and I have like seven bags and he's gone to the [expensive hotel in nearby city] but I realized that he's got my wallet and phone and all my ID so I don't have any money with me and I've been up all night and you can see I'm not a bum, look at my jacket this is a $200 jacket [bullcrap, it's $25 at Kmart] and these are $150 shoes [same]..."

He's trying to convince me that no, he's not a bum, look at this obvious display of wealth and SEVEN SUITCASES WOW and fancy hotels... but what's up with oh, all of his teeth being little black stumps?  Maybe he should get those looked at instead of going on international vacations?  Perhaps I can call the hotel that his friend is supposedly going to, or possibly find out WTF he's not actually staying at the hotel he said he checked into in town here. 

"... so I just need $11.25 for a bus ticket up to [local city], can you help me out?"

Me:  "No, sorry dude."  He interrupts me before I can offer to try and contact his friend, or to even explain why his story has a lot of logical inconsistencies in it and I'm not about to give him money or buy a ticket for him.

"[insert long string of expletives cussing me out], I'M NOT A BUM YOU [expletives, random cursing and yelling, continues for about 5 seconds before I shake my head and start walking away from him]"

Wow, good one guy.  You know, if you didn't seem so crazy and try to build up your story so much, it might be marginally believable.  But you really overdid it, and there's a lot of holes in the plot.  C-.

Bus Fare by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #12 Thu May 18, 2006 at 11:50:57 AM EST
For a few months, there was this guy who didn't look too badly dressed who would walk down the BART train saying loudly in each car "DOES ANYONE HAVE FIVE DOLLARS SO I CAN GET TO SACRAMENTO?" The first time I felt vagually sorry for him (though I didn't give him anything.) The tenth time, however...
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
I got that in Toronto last summer by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 0) #13 Thu May 18, 2006 at 12:25:36 PM EST
At one of the main subway hubs there were normal "college student looking people" who seemed to have had one calamity or another which left them 20 bucks short of train fare etc etc. It's an age old "upscale" way to panhandle.

Professional beggars. I'll bet they do okay too, the good ones anyways.

Warmest regards,
--Your best pal Bob

[ Parent ]
Once by Driusan (4.00 / 1) #15 Thu May 18, 2006 at 12:36:26 PM EST
I was taking the subway in Toronto, when a homeless couple (and their cat) got on and sat a few seats away from me. I spent most of the ride eavesdropping to their conversations about the best places to panhandle. I can't remember how much they said they were making in these places, but it was definitely above minimum wage.

I spent a while thinking of going over and talking to them myself, but they really, really smelled.

--
Vive le Montréal libre.

[ Parent ]
They must teach that at panhandling school by ad hoc (4.00 / 1) #17 Thu May 18, 2006 at 12:52:36 PM EST
Voices In The Head ones are the best by Rogerborg (4.00 / 1) #19 Thu May 18, 2006 at 01:28:25 PM EST
Let's try something; you record the ones in your city, I'll do the ones in mine, then we'll compare notes and see if they're actually talking to each other.

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
good one by alprazolam (2.00 / 0) #20 Thu May 18, 2006 at 01:47:14 PM EST
when i was in school and out on the loop (stl) one night this guy came up to a group of us asking for cash, he started talking, then looked at me and said "you look like you'd just kick my ass if i started trouble" so i gave him a buck, which at least gave my friends time to get away.

most of the time i don't want to give them anything anyway since they're all basically full of shit. i did see one chick in SF with a sign that was like "i don't want to be doing this but i don't have options"...felt bad for her, mostly because she was kinda cute.

As someone once famously said by aphrael (4.00 / 2) #21 Thu May 18, 2006 at 02:32:15 PM EST
You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it. It was you, Charley.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
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