On Pocket Knives

“Are you a student?”
 
Always too literal, I answer, “No.”  I’m not a student, and I don’t actually even live in St. Pete.  Just visit every weekend. [Zing! Oh, the past, and how fun it was. Take that Tampa!]

“Oh, okay, ‘cuz if you were, I was going to offer you some,” lifting a can of beans, “if you could get this open.”

This is why I love the homeless.  Every time I run into them for a prolonged period, they offer to help.  No matter what.  It doesn’t matter that he hasn’t eaten all day.  His beans are mine if I can aid in freeing them from the can.

(I’ll make no judgments on why the legions of Florida’s homeless always mistake me for one of them.  I even shave now!  This shouldn’t be happening!)

Maybe this is also why the classed (lower-, middle-, or upper-; take your pick) hate them so.  Flaunting their poverty the way they do!  Capitalism’s children define themselves by either: what they have, or what they plan to get.  Unable or unwilling to internalize Jeff Ott’s famous assertion that we’re all two paychecks away from being homeless too. 

Adding to the stranger kindness, the guy was even worried about breaking the pocket knife I gave him to pry the can open!  After I told him not to worry about it.  Him eating seemed a bit more important at the moment then the status of a pocket knife I often forget I have. 
 
(I think my Dad gave it to me after I got jumped that one time.  I keep it with me in case I have to saw my leg off in a bizarre stocking disaster at work.)

Naturally, this exchange couldn’t end on a positive note.  As with all questionable conversations, the next hobo I ran into (while writing this!) offered this advice:

“There’s no courtesy these days.”

Thus began an argument, as for the life of me I swear he said courtesy while he claimed it was currency.  I even went so far as to make him repeat it before I answered, in efforts to hear him correctly! 

Ever try to explain to a bum that the conversation you scripted with him in your head actually makes more sense then the one he so desperately needed to voice?

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