Thursday, September 02, 2010

spare change

There’s really no good way to run an experiment like this because there’ll always be suspicion on the receiving end. It seems like it would be better to just give away the card and then review the purchases or at least the location since without input from the spender you probably can’t see itemization. Maybe it seems like some human experiment gone wrong, or maybe right.

I’ve long held one belief about panhandlers on the street and I’ve added a second in the years I’ve lived with X (it was her input, honestly, that made so much sense). My first thing is this: if I give money to panhandler then I’ve done it by choice and it’s a gift. What they do with it is wholly their prerogative; it’s no business of mine. If I have concerns then I don’t give money. Pretty simple. The counterpoint to my position is always weighted by the expectations of others that I know, “Oh, they’ll just use it to buy liquor, cigarettes, or drugs.” Proof of that isn’t forthcoming from them after they make that statement because they assume it’s a given. Even if true, so what? The second belief, doctored in my head, is this: No one wants to be standing out on a hot/cold/rainy/snowy/shitty street begging for money. If by providing them with $10 they can gain some respite in time spent on the corner, or a day away from begging, then I’m all for it. Imagine a chance to have some time off from an endless hour-to-hour or day-to-day survival slog where you can simply either stop for a bit or grab something to eat. Imagine.

Maybe it’s rose-colored glasses. Maybe it’s progressive. Maybe it’s just something that makes a small slice a life a little better.

Do with it as you will.

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