Thursday, April 13, 2006

If you are looking for a good cause...

The good weather means that today is opening day of the Chicago APS [Aggressive Panhandling Season]. Today's panhandling lineup has already included:

  • The bum who was collapsed in a doorway, clutching a 40, spitting at me when I walked by and refused to donate (Thankfully I avoided the spittle)
  • The honorable fellow who grabbed his groin area as I approached the CTA station and then asked me for money...(0-2 in the donation stat line)
  • A nefarious con-artiste trying to convince that he was on a campaign to collect donations so that his non-profit organization could get federal funding. However, he didn't particularly like the fact that I noticed that his petition and donation sheets were all photocopied lists of peoples names in the same person's handwriting along with a 'membership form' for the 2003-2004 season. (0-3)
    • He did however get these high school students to donate. Crazy high school kids.
  • Finally, there was the Train beggar. The train that I take to the Loop comes from O'Hare, so there are always out of towners coming into the city. When the panhandlers spot an out of towner, it is definitely a source of entertainment and today it was no different. The guy comes into the car, with an aroma that reminded me of a rose, covered in vomit and urine. I dismissed him with a quick shake of the head when he stuck his hand in front of my face. Several others did the same. Not so, for the portly man in the blue Hawaiian print shirt. The beggar had located his target, stuck his hand in his face, and just stared at this man. The man, unfamiliar with the local custom, tried to ignored and look away. The beggar would have none of it. He just kept on keeping on; this went on for at least three or four minutes. It was a feat of strength. WHO WOULD BREAK FIRST? The panhandler didn't give up easily, he got loud and he got obnoxious and he got the tourist to get up and move from his seat. Sounds like a draw to me. (0-4)
Panhandlers are so much fun. Warm weather brings them out and the hilarity ensues. So, if you are looking for a good cause to donate to, come to Chicago and ride the CTA. You'll be inundated with eligible cash depositories