The hustle

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Walking home yesterday I spotted a woman who begs o R St between 5th and 4th. Black woman, possibly between 40something and 50 something, with a short ponytail. I don't know what her real deal is but she shows up often enough with the same simple story that she's hungry and just wants some food. Over the years (it's only been a couple), I've gone home to make her a sandwich, or directed her to the Korean house mission on R or Bread for the City on 7th. I try not to give money.

She's a regular. Another person who is becoming a regular is a guy begging for work who, as far as I can tell, doesn't produce. This guy seems to have honed in on one neighbor on my street, rolling around quarterly? every other month? knocking on the door with some sad story about how he needs a few dollars and will do some yard work. If you haven't noticed, we have tiny yards. Even then I only notice an improvement in the yard when other neighbors volunteer or the homeowner does yard work. Not after this guy leaves. Once, the guy told me that his daughter was in the hospital, and the grandmother they were living with died and they were going to kicked out of where they were living. I offered sympathy, but no job, as it seems no one can identify what is in my yard, there is no way in Hell I'm going to let anyone come in tear up and trample what I'm growing. He comes around often enough that I think it's a hustle.

Yesterday, before dinner,  on a leisurely walk in Bloomingdale with the Help we ran into this couple sitting on S St. The woman asked if we had any money on us. She said her husband just died of AIDS. I expressed sympathy but said I didn't have any cash on me. Then she asked why I was with a white man. Oh yeah, I forgot we're an interracial couple walking down the street holding hands. The Help is a romantic who wants to hold hands, and I am a woman who thinks he walks too damned slow. But  anyway, I replied that he was the only one who wanted to marry me because I was so old. We laughed it off and kept walking.

Everyone has a story.

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