Anyways, the other night this old black guy in a walker was causing a big scene at the cash register. It turns out some item he had been buying for years, they had just raised the price and he didn’t have enough money to cover it. So he’s yelling at the clerk (like its HIS fault) and causing a big commotion.
I’m right behind him on line and I just want to get in and out of there as quickly as possible and go drink my beer with no complications. And I guess I felt a little sorry for the guy because he was old and in a walker. So I jumped into the middle of it.
“Listen, I’ll pay the difference,” I said.
“OK OK,” said the clerk.
The only thing I had was a 10 dollar bill so I gave it to the clerk. I quickly realized that the old guy wasn’t about to kick in any of his money. Apparently he felt (or wanted to feel) that I was picking up the whole tab. He was buying two packs of Camels for $9.50, so the clerk handed me back 50 cents in change.
So now I had a choice. I could start haggling with the old guy to kick in his share. But I quickly realized he was a cranky old fuck and he’d just start causing a big scene with ME if I tried to intervene. Which was the whole reason I had butted into the situation in the FIRST place, to avoid a scene. So I figured, fuck it, and just let it slide.
But here’s the kicker. As the old guy was preparing to leave he leaned over to me, and I thought he was going express his gratitude. Instead he said:
“Hey, you couldn’t buy me a couple of hot dogs, too?”
I’m thinking: KILL! KILL! KILL!
But it made me think of something that I had realized earlier, culled from my years of living with the denizons of the street scene. There are basically two kinds of people in this world: One kind of person, if you do something nice for them they think: “Hey, he did something nice for me. Maybe the next time I see him I can return the favor and do something nice for him.” And then there’s the other kind of person where, when you do something nice for them they think: “Hey, I got something from this guy. Maybe next time I see him I can get even more from him. And more and more and MORE!”
When I’m sober, its usually very easy for me to tell one type from the other.