Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Near death experience.

Last night I was approached by a man outside my house. I instantly knew that he was going to ask me for money and I also knew that I wouldn't give him any. He was pretty dishevelled and only one tooth had bothered to stay in his mouth. In a sense I shouldn't be judging him on his appearance but, you know, so would you.

In London I am frequently approached by people asking me for 'money for the bus'. These people always look like alcoholics or crack heads. Either alcoholics and crack heads just love riding the bus or they're lying. It is a sad state of affairs when my instant response to a stranger in need is an immediate 'no'. Especially considering their stories are often quite elaborate and believable. What if they're true? What if one day I end up getting beaten up, losing all my money and need to get the bus back to Penge to see my sister who's sick? And what if that all happens on a day I have chosen to dress like a crack head? Then I will have to hope that I find someone nicer than me.

What was interesting about last night's guy was his method. He played a genuinely startling mind trick. He starting by taking an i.d card out of his wallet. My first thought was that he was trying to prove that he was a responsible member of society in a fix by showing me that he had a normal job. Instead the card was from Brixton prison. He told me that he'd just left there. He then showed me cuts on his wrists which he said were from recently applied handcuffs. I ruled out inviting him in to watch Dragon's Den with me. He explained that he needed money for the bus (don't we all - thanks BORIS!) and that he didn't want to reoffend to get it.

Ahhhh. So that's the trick. For a second I considered giving him it because I was so bamboozled. Not least by the fact that they give you an i.d card when you leave prison. What possible circumstance would that be useful in other than... I don't know... applying for a job at News International?! SATIRE!! Then I figured that if he really needed the bus then he could just hop on a fucking bendy one. I said 'no, sorry' (always polite) as I was walking into my house and then he said 'that's a nice house you've got, I might have to reoffend and burgle that'. Well, just as long as you only burgle £2.20's worth for bus fare and not a penny more.

This is the sad thing about the city. We don't trust anyone and we're right not to. If I ever ask for directions it always starts with the person looking away in fear at first and I look like a sick school boy.

Here is something I can't be arsed to fit into the structure of the blog post. Consider it a bonus feature; There's another guy on my street who frequently asks me for money. Each time he has a bloody mouth and says he's just been punched in the face. First off it's sad that he is so desperate that he regularly punches himself in the face to try and get what he needs. Secondly, it's sad that he's stupid enough to do it on the same street, to the same people every night.


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