How much do panhandlers really make? Can you possibly make a living at this? How much of a difference does a funny sign make? Will people give to a guy in a banana suit? Does every sign have to say "God Bless?" Important questions. I aim to find the answers. Give me a dollar. God Bless.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Hot Hot Heat

I went out panhandling yesterday downtown. On my way there one of my neighbors told me that there was someone already in my spot. It's nice that my neighbors have all grown accustomed to a panhandling banana living amongst them. I had a feeling the panhandler on "my" offramp would be Jackie and sure enough I saw her at the gas station in a little tiny skirt combing her hair. She never stays on the ramp for long. I took my position on the offramp and began plying my chosen trade.

The temperature has passed the century mark almost every day this week so I decided to comment on the heat, figuring I'd make the big sympathy dollars. What I didn't do was to specifially request money. Apparently this was a big mistake. People are baffled enough by the suit, so without specific instructions like "Give me money" they were lost. Some folks asked me what I wanted, and of course some folks did give me money.

Several guys asked the obvious question "Why the hell are you wearing the banana suit?" I congratulated them on asking such a good question and explained that if I took of the suit I'd need a new sign. I told one guy that my stawberry suit was at the cleaners.

I was starting to really sweat and then I looked across the street and I see a guy in a diving mask and shorts with a big foam orange sword running through traffic towards me? Yipes! How the hell do I respond to this. I didn't recognize the guy at all, so I played along and ran up the off ramp. He chased me all over until my ankle, which I'd recently injured, began to hurt. "Dude, I can't run anymore." I told him. He then holds his sword upright in front of him and declares loudly, "VICTORY!" Then he marches back down the street. ?!? I'll have pictures of this strange interaction up soon.

Yep. It's a strange world. Another fellow told me I was "So very gay." Okay.

Three people took my picture, up close and personal, but only one of them gave me a buck. I caught several other folks sneaking pictures, which I find most confusing. I'm putting myself in public, I can 't really stop anyone from taking my picture, nor would I want to. I had a good time with all the kids who seem to really get a kick out the giant banana. They wave, and one kid mimed taking my picture, so I mimed taking his and this cracked him up. There were lots of adults cracking up too. But, there was an unusually high number of people playing the "I can't see you" game. This cool piece of art by Jared Von Hindman illustrates the lunacy of this game when played with someone who is SO obviously visible. Click the pic to see a larger version.

One other funny happening occured when I saw my pal Irina who I owed money to. She offered me some change and I ran over to her car to get it. As I took the change I slipped her the money I owed her. The guy in the next car saw me handing her crisp green bills and he must have figured that giving money to folks who offer me money was my shtick or something. He starts scrambling for change and then gives me a hand full of dirty, sticky ash tray pennies. I take them, thank him, and walk away. He was clearly dissappointed.

An hour after I finished I was up near the offramp on other business and I saw Jackie out there with her sign. I stopped to say hello and I gave her a couple of bucks. She's much better at this than I. She's got the hours down and she doesn't waste time on the slow periods. I've got a lot to learn if I'm ever going to sleep between them silk sheets.

I earned the paltry sum of $5.45 per hour. This does not lead me to feel like my dream is within my grasps. I may need to see a therapists, but that's pretty expensive. Could you maybe help out with $2.00? Thanks, I really appreciate it. God Bless.
(And if you're unable to see the divine wisdom of giving me your money, at least click on my google ads. That helps me out a-lot.)

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