Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Notes on pandhandling from a friend

I have never had to survive from panhandling before, but I have discovered many things about people while doing it. 

First, it's the poor who help the poor. That surprised me. It's not the brand new Cadillac with a well dressed couple. It's the older model mini van with 3 kids in the back. 

Begging makes folks uncomfortable. Eye contact is intensely avoided. Smiles are hard to get. Children get confused, but always smile. 

People spit on panhandlers.  I'm not sure I understand that. On the other hand, folks are incredibly kind. I had a young woman give me half of her ham sandwich. I had another couple who saw me and then went to D & D and brought me back a hot coffee and a donut. It was about 10 degrees and windy that day. I had a Youngman who stopped and prayed for me and then gave me his change. This one woman who I noticed each day walking by me stopped one day and told me she had been watching me. She had noticed that very few folks stopped to help. We talked for 10 minuets and then she gave me $20.

I read something the other day that helps me when I am at my lowest, when no one stops for an hour or so:  "It is a beggar's pride that he is not a thief."
I have lived the life of a thief. It hurt a lot of folks. It darkens the soul. It becomes impossible to look at others because of shame.
It is very hard for me to ask for money, but what I have been doing to get money does not hurt folks. I sincerely wear a face of gratitude. I take no more than I need. I share what I can.
There is a lot to this story. I have just begun to write about it. It is another world. The comradely feeling amongst others doing what I do, is strong.
Ill keep you posted as I trudge this road for now.
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