While public transportation is not necessarily reliable it does tend to be interesting. I’ve seen a lot of really fun performances, both on the trains and in the stations. But this weekend I saw an…unexpected performance.
About a month ago I was coming home from a job interview when a man stood up on the train and asked for our attention. Normally I tune these people out, but he said something that caught my attention so I paused my iPod to hear what he had to say:
“I just moved here from Connecticut this morning with my wife and my 2-year-old daughter. I have a job with a contractor but I was just informed today that unless I can provide insurance, I can’t work. The cheapest policy we’ve found is $600 dollars. My wife and I managed to get $400 and we just need help with the last $200. I am embarrassed and humiliated to be doing this so anything you can spare would be appreciated.”
If he hadn’t said he was from Connecticut (home of the Boo) I would have ignored him. But I had a buck in my pocket and I was feeling very generous after my interview so I handed it to him and felt good about my good deed.
Then I took a minute to think about what he said. Why wasn’t his company providing insurance? Even if they didn’t, why didn’t they let him know before he moved? Why, if he just moved, did he have a picture of his wife and baby on hand to just whip out mid-speech. Why, if he can afford to move to Manhattan, does he not have enough money to swing the first insurance payment? If you just moved this morning, where the hell are your wife and daughter and why aren’t they helping you mooch money?
THAT BASTARD SWINDLED ME!!
Damn! I was pretty pissed for awhile after that. He wrecked my good deed and stole a dollar from someone who deserved it–like the hip hop guys I always see at 34th street who dance to Michael Jackson.
Then, this weekend, I found my chance for revenge. Boo, Momma and Poppa B and I got on the 6 train on our way to see Curtains (which, by the way, was an excellent show) and less than 20 seconds after the doors closed I heard: Excuse me everyone, can I have your attention…
IT WAS THE SAME GUY!!! Are you kidding me, sir? You’re gonna come on this train and give the same speech–it’s not even a good speech! Oh, sure he did change some of the details. This time he said he moved from Vermont. And he said he’d moved 2 days ago, not that morning. But really guy, you’ve been using this for at least a month and you can’t work the kinks out?! Unbelievable.
I was pissed. So I decided to start saying his speech at the same time. I have a very excellent memory when it comes to things like that (I can hear a song once and be singing the chorus before it finishes) so I hit all of his main points around the same time he did. Of course he didn’t make a cent with my loud mouth on that train and he was as pissed as I was about the situation. Actually, I made a dollar giving the speech and I think that pissed him off even more. When he made his exit he said the best thing he could think of: Open mouth, insert foot.
I think he was hoping for some last minute sympathy change. Kind of a “look at this girl, she’s so insensitive to my plight.” But I wasn’t having it so I said, “DUDE! I’ve heard you give this exact same speech before.”
Well, he knew he’d lost all chances at making a buck so he gave up the act and said “Yeah, well I make $1000 a day doing this so I don’t give an eff what you think.” Aw, and in front of my parents? You’re so classy.
So I’m sorry you didn’t get my dollar, but here’s a tip for the next time you give this speech: don’t wear brand new Pumas. No one’s going to believe you need the money when you’re shelling out $90 for new kicks.