Today I met a new friend for coffee and geeky tech chat at Caffe Umbria in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. It is not full of covered wagons and calico-clad, bonneted ladies. It is full of pigeons, bicycle cops and the… downtrodden? Unsheltered? Coin-challenged? What is the current acceptable term?
Anyway, I’m at a table outside waiting for my pal when a rather raggedy but not smelly woman comes up to me to ask me for money. She keeps saying “fivefollarfootlong, fivedollarfootlong” so I’m digging in my coat pocket for money, but I only have a dime and that’s just insulting, so I unzip my bag to go for the wallet and she comes at me for a hug.
“I don’t need a hug, just let me get you some money” say I. I wasn’t afraid of her or anything but I’m not the hug a stranger type. So not only does she hug me, she also kisses the top of my head and tells me I’m pretty like a Barbie doll, which I found a little insulting. Just being a white girl doesn’t make me a Barbie.
Anyway I give her five bucks and she practically sprints away; hopefully toward Subway.
I’m happy to share what I have; I have a life of ridiculous privilege compared to a person without a place to sleep at night or food to eat. But dang, stay out of my personal space, please.
Does that make me a terrible person? Does not wanting to be hugged negate the fivefollarfootlong?
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I blogged this from under a sleeping baby. Blame her for the typos.
Personally, I wouldn’t want to be hugged by them. Not trying to be shallow or insulting, but they are more than likely living on the streets and who knows what they have come into contact with over the past day/week/month/year (you get the idea). I’d say it was a good deed. I for one, have trust issues, so I wouldn’t be able to just hand them money. I would either have to buy something for them myself or just say no, respectively.
I dealt with this situation on a daily basis when I was in downtown Chicago for school….for two years. No it doesn’t make you a terrible person. But, then again, I never had a homeless person hug me so, not sure where to go with this. Though I did have the same homeless people (yes there was more than one) tell me the same story over and over again….does it make me a bad person that I lied about only having a credit card on me when I only had enough money to feed myself whilst I was down there? I hope not!