I rarely go to the free, charity give-aways in People’s Park. Even though they often give away some really good stuff. Because you usually end up witnessing some of the grossest and most piggish aspects of human nature. People pushing and shoving and elbowing to get at the front of the line, and acting like pigs at a trough or sharks at a feeding frenzy. And it usually puts me in a bad mood for the rest of the day. So I usually avoid them.
There’s a whole subset of people in the park where that’s their main hustle in life. Laying about in the park all day long and waiting to pounce on any donations that come through that day. Over the years you see the same faces at every give-away in the park. Pushing themselves to the front as they grab 3 times as much stuff as everyone else, while braying their eternal mantra: “I NEED AN EXTRA ONE FOR MY FRIEND!!”
But this afternoon I just happened to be walking through the park when a charity group showed up bearing gifts. They had big bags of brand new clothes — shirts and jackets and socks and blankets. And lots of food too — pastries and bananas and tangerines and hot chocolate. And they set up all the stuff on a picnic table at the top of the park. A real New Year’s celebration for all the homeless.
Except. This one guy who got there first before everybody else showed up, immediately sat right on the picnic table between these two big bags of clothes. Then he did this big act where he pretended to “help” distribute the clothes. “Does anyone need a hand warmer??” he repeated over and over, as he “generously” offered them to anyone who wanted them. Which was nobody.
Of course as soon as the charity people left, and another homeless person attempted to check out the bags of donated clothes, he immediately growled: “Get your hands off of MY fucking bags of clothes!!!”
Here’s to the New Year, same as the old year.