antisocialism, the homeless and me

i’m feeling rather antisocial lately and i’m not quite sure why.

there is a big work shin-dig this saturday afternoon at a bowling alley / pool hall and i just don’t want to go.

oh, i could make room in my schedule, sure, but for some reason my desire for attending is pretty much nil.

there are a few people who will be there that i would love to spend time with, but i guess i just don’t want to have to share them with everyone else who will be there.

is it wrong of me to say that some of the people who will be there are just, well, “needy”?  does that sound like i’m looking down on them too much?

i guess i just want to relax and spending time with certain people will not allow me that luxury.

my better half and i got into a debate on the way home last night regarding giving money to homeless people.

it all started when [you guessed it] a homeless man came up to us and asked us for money as we were waiting for the bus to take us home from our day of work downtown.

now, my better half is new to working downtown – she just started her job there a few weeks ago.  i’ve been working downtown for almost four years now.  and i’ve seen this very same homeless man many times before – each time he has a different story to tell about why he needs money and yesterday was no exception.

i am always quick to say something like, “sorry, i don’t have any money” while my better half is more than willing to offer up her loose change.  she believes that it is not her responsibility to see that the person uses the money as they said they needed it, but that that is up to the person who received the money.  she said that she believes that it is her duty to provide for people who ask, when she can.

i guess i’m the skeptic who thinks people like that will just go out and spend it on alcohol and drugs.

i told her that i respect her opinion and am not mad at her for giving away her change to this man, but that i cannot in good conscience provide someone with money because they asked for it.  i’m more than willing to buy someone a cup of coffee at one of the millions of coffeeshops here in seattle because at least i can see what they are getting out of the transaction, but with just giving out money i feel leary.

i wonder if i’m just being paranoid.  i don’t know.


6 thoughts on “antisocialism, the homeless and me

  1. I don’t think you’re being paranoid. In bigger cities, people are usually homeless because they refuse to meet the criteria of the shelters that would assist them or get them on their feet again.All the same, I give money to homeless people or feel guilty when I don’t, even with Keith reminding me of the above concept!I have been intending for what seems like forever to have a stash of granola bars in our car so that I can give somebody something to eat instead of cash. Because you can’t go wrong with giving somebody something to eat, right?

  2. I feel this every time here in my country. There are so many people mired in poverty. I do sometimes hesitate to give money, what I do most of the time is to carry cookies or soda crackers  so I can give them “food” (because they are mostly homeless children).

  3. i’ve done it in the past, i’ve even run to the convenience store and returned with food, but as a refugee whose family came to this country with a mere $20 and who grew up watching my parents strive with what seemed to be superhuman effort and efficiency to build us a life, it is tough for me to reconcile giving handouts.  my folks never sought aid and worked without complaint.  while i realize there are people who are homeless for reasons beyond their control and who will never be able to fend for themselves–those with dementia who are completely without family–the rest have, for some reason or another and in some form another, resigned themselves to such a fate.  growing up around a “never surrender” attitude has conditioned me to feel like every time i give a handout, it’s a slap in the face of my parents.  simple as that for me.

  4. I learned to appreciate people asking for money in English while I was in France. My first month there, the same thing would happen almost habitually: Someone approaches me, starts talking, I try to figure out what they want, suddenly realize they want money and find myself blushing feeling really stupid because I’ve already been talking to them. It’s harder to brush people off when you’ve just been speaking with them rather than walking by.But I struggle with the same thing, too. I sometimes think I just offer my pittance because I like hearing people say, “Oh God bless you! Oh God bless you!” to me. I tend to agree a bit more with the, “It’s not my responsibility (to know what they do with it)” stance, but I certainly understand why you wouldn’t, also. I think, primarily, the issue is whether or not one is a flexible giver. Not that you need be in this situation but that, generally speaking, you are not so attached to your money that you are unable to share a little here and there. I’m not always good at that. Particularly this last year or so I’ve gotten stingy.Have a beautiful weekend!

  5. I totally agree w/you, Josh.    I don’t give to them – if I did, would be inclined to do it as you said – to go buy the coffee for them so KNOW it isn’t going for more liquor.This man will now know your sweetheart is an easy mark and will hit on her in the future. . .There are ways to get out of your situation that are socially appropriate – and I don’t think begging is one of them.

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