Sunday, December 16, 2007

Why Not?

I walked by a homeless person on my way to the grocery store tonight. She asked me for some change. As I usually do, I politely refused by shaking my head and holding open an empty palm.

I passed by her again on the way home.

She: Spare some change?
Me: No, sorry. [Shaking head and holding out open palm]
She: Why not?

Huh? Did she really say "Why not?" I hate to break it to you, lady, but I owe you positively no excuses for my decision not to do something that's wholly my choice to make. There are probably millions of reasons I could have chosen not to give you any of my money. Let's list some of them, just for fun:

- I don't have much money of my own
- I don't like panhandlers
- I give "at the office"
- I don't give to street panhandlers
- I don't like you
- I prefer to give directly to charities
- I think you're probably some lazy ass who should get a real job
- I just spent my money
- I am a Scrooge, and proud of it
- What the hell have you done for me to deserve any of money at all?
- I don't give money to people wearing blue hats
- The little green martians told me not to, and I obey their every suggestion
- A homeless person once bit my leg, so now I avoid them at all costs

What do all of the items on that list have in common? No, not "it's the truth," because I don't actually subscribe to all of the reasons listed there. The one characteristic shared by every single item on that list is that each one is perfectly valid reason for me to have chosen not to give you any money, lady.

"Why not?" I have my reasons.

1 comment:

sactoheath said...

you know, i never know what to say either....

i have pretty much settled on just saying "no thank you", because it seems to throw them for a moment, wondering what i'm thanking them for, and by that time i'm down the street too far away.

sorry, there are plenty of soup kitchens in our town if they REALLY want food to eat. i don't like being accosted.