The following took place a couple of weeks ago: I’m walking home from the metro listening to Amadou and Mariam, having an uneventful time of it. So I cruise by the all the nice houses decked out in Christmas lights, I favor the white lights for the record, and all is swell. So I make my turn off of New Hampshire Ave and all is good until I get to my house.
I’m really rocking out now doing my best to sing along in French with Amadou and Mariam (a really good African duo influenced by Manu Chao) when a guy jumps out from nowhere while my keys are literally in the door. So I turn around and, and… I froze. I was so stunned and oblivious, just totally taken by surprise. I mean it was ridiculous. I always thought I’d have a Robert DeNiro moment and say “are you talking to me?”. Suffice it to say I reacted in just about the exact opposite way – I just stood there with my mouth hanging open, thinking Oh God this is it.
So, he actually says to me “don’t worry I’m not going to rob you.” Whew well that is a relief. I don’t know you tell me, when I guy jumps out of the bushes right in front of your house, how do you react? I fucking froze. Sorry, I repeat myself. So the guy who is clearly homeless pulls the whole “hey I don’t have enough money to get on the metro scam.” I must have a certain look because this has been used on me at least a dozen times. Ok, I’m sure at some point people really don’t have enough money to get on the metro but I live like a half a mile from the Metro! Incidentally, what brutal increase WMATA is contemplating.
Anyway, so there I am keys hanging out of the door, ipod blaring, and this homeless guy asking for money. Ready for the anticlimactic moment? Well, I gave him the change in my pocket and he left. But it is bullshit. Because I wasn’t prepared, because I was taken by surprise, I simply didn’t react at all and as a result I felt intimidated and powerless. What if I had said no? I guess I really do just read the Metro section to often. What I would have liked to have said was, “what the mother fuck are you jumping out of the bushes at 7 o’clock at night, you bastard!?” Now, listen I was raised properly I give money to charities and to the homeless for that matter but at that moment I felt like I had no choice.
Now, what if I told him to fuck off? He knows where I live etc. etc. So I gave him the change in my pocket but he took a lot more than the change in my pocket. So where does the real tragedy lie? I no longer listen to my ipod on my walks home. I mean I am one alert mother fucking panther when I walk home now. Which sucks, because I loved rocking out to my tunes on the walk home. This is the price we pay for being cautious and living in the City I suppose. So my warning to all, this could have been a lot worse, it was a reality check wake up call for me – be alert on your walks home. Don’t be oblivious listening to your ipod or talking on the phone or you’ll get surprised and I can assure you it is not a pleasant feeling.