Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Beggars Can Be Choosers.

It’s hard to decide whether or not a homeless person is deserving of your spare pocket change, sometimes they’re genuinely down on their luck, sometimes they’re just looking for drug or alcohol money, sometimes it’s a mix of the two. In my time I must have tossed them quite a lot of money if you add it all up. A loose 10p here, a spare 20p there. It all adds up and is probably accumulative to about £20, if not more.

“Spare change please?” the dishevelled looking gentleman said to me, standing in front of me, blocking my path. “Erm, yeah.” I rummaged into my pocket and pulled out the only change I had. 8p. I went to hand it to him. “Are you taking the piss? Are you taking the fucking piss?”
“No. Sorry.” I retracted my hand.
“Think you’re fucking funny do ya?”
“Sorry that’s all I’ve got” I said trying to diffuse the situation and quickly sped away.

Apparently beggars can be choosers. I must not have got that memo.

I find it difficult to know what to do when I’m constantly confronted. I do the usual frisk of myself; hitting my pockets, and for some reason my chest, to show that I have no spare change on my person, I cross the road when I see a homeless person, and when possible I do sometimes give them a handful of very small change. Last Christmas I gave a homeless man my gloves, he was wrapped up well though his hands were exposed and bright blue; I didn’t like the gloves anyway and had another pair at home; it wasn’t that much of a noble deed.

The thing that really bothers me though is the aggression I regularly receive.

“Spare change mate?”
“No sorry.”
“Well what did you buy that shopping with then!?”
“My card.”
“Being cheeky!?”

I find it terribly unfair that we should feel the need to accommodate them, especially when they are being aggressive towards us; saying that I just can’t help but feel sorry for them sometimes; especially in cold weather, I see them and feel it is my duty to help. After all one day that could be me sat bunched up and curled over in a shop doorway, if my future should take a drastic twist for the worst.

I don’t know what the right answer is, I really am stumped. All I know is if somebody is being forceful or aggresive towards you they aren't deserving of your money, no matter what the circumstance.

If only they looked a little more like this; I would have spare change for these boys any day of the week.

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