Friday, March 2, 2012

The Beggar





I remember the day, years ago in Vancouver, B.C., when I followed a 'street person' around for a couple of hours........from a distance.




I was taking a course at UBC on photography. This particular week's assignment was 'people'.




From the start, he saw me and appeared not to care I was taking pictures of him. We nodded to each other.




              I have the photos stored away somewhere but they aren't what is important here.




I was reminded of this a couple days ago as I was entering a deli to pick up two biscotti for our coffees. As I was entering I looked to my right and noticed a man sitting on the sidewalk, looking up at me.




                                He was probably younger than I but looked years older.




He wanted some money. I went over to him as I was digging into my pockets. I didn't have any change.




                                         I told him I'd see him on the way out. And I did.




Whenever I see people begging for money I always give them something. Always have.




I can't imagine being in their shoes. Makes me wonder how they got there....what their story is.




I really don't care what they do with the money I give them. If it makes their day a little more bearable, then so be it.




                                     Sometimes it is a very thin line that divides us all.







35 comments:

  1. I agree. I do the same, always have. It is a very thin line, thinner than we think.

    I just finished looking at this earlier in the evening, you might like it, it's photos taken of various homeless people in NYC by Chris Arnade. He did tiny interviews, too, about how they got there, how they wanted to be described, what their dreams are.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-504083_162-10011486.html?tag=page

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    1. Thanks EM, I will check this out.

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  2. None of us are ever that far away from being in a place or situation like that. Just a short sequence of unfortunate events...

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    1. Amazing there are not more of us in this situation, come to think of it. Guess it may have to do with our support networks.

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  3. That's very kind, Jim. We shouldn't judge harshly. Everybody's got a story, and sometimes it's a very heartbreaking one.

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    1. I am sure Martha that these individuals, if given another chance, would prefer to live in a completely different fashion.

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  4. I feel the same way Jim. I have a number of people in my family with addiction problems and one ended up homeless for a short while. They do whatever they can to survive at that point. That person is someone's son or daughter...

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    1. Beyond a doubt, Jane. I think some of us find it hard at times that these individuals are really someone's son/daughter.....easier to ignore.

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  5. You are so right about the thin line. I think few people appreciate how easy it would be to become one of "those people."

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    1. It's probably a number of factors that keep most of us focused and afloat.

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  6. Agreed.
    This is a lovely series of images.

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    1. Thanks Pat. It was one of those 'visuals' that just couldn't be passed.....I know you know what I am saying!

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    1. Good? Just following my instincts Debra.

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  8. I've known a couple of people that have chosen that life. Yes, chosen.
    But I know too that there are many more that have gotten to that point through the most common circumstances.
    If you ever find yourself in Detroit, avoid them at all cost. If you give them the slightest amount, they follow you wanting more. The more you give them, the more they "need". They wait outside every major venue in the city and pounce as soon as the police are busy. Just one more reason that Detroit is not on the tourism route.
    In Toronto, I was pleasantly surprised by a begger that politely asked for change, said please and thank you even. Then he went away quietly.
    I genuinely have a soft spot for people down on their luck. I'm just saying if you like your car, don't give a bum in Detroit the time of day. Really!

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    1. I know Detroit has very unique problems now and it is no surprise that the neediest of them all would act this way. And since they are at the bottom of anybody's priority list, they will probably continue in their aggressive manner.....until the issue is addressed and dealt with in a humane way.Must be really bad for them there.

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  9. hi jim,

    perhaps it is an illusion that there is a line separating any of us at all, even a thin one.
    -tony

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    1. OK Tony! Now you getting into the crux of the matter. I guess the question could be, who created that thin line in the first place?

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  10. You're a nice guy, Jim. I'm a little colder.
    Once, while walking into a cheap restaurant, I was asked for money. I asked the guy what he wanted it for. He said that he was hungry. I offered to buy him some food inside the restaurant. He said, "Nah, that's okay man".
    So now I think like that all the time. I'm not pleased with myself but that's it.
    It will probably be the thing that keeps me from Heaven.
    m.

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  11. Yes Mark, you will probably burn eternally in hell!!!! I can see you doing the 'limbo' and lovin' every second! lol

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    1. Oh yes Mark, remember if I was an American I'd be a bleeding-heart Democrat! lol

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    2. Oh, I know you would be!
      m.

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  12. Been on that thin line, it's not a comfortable place.

    Beautiful images this morning, Jim!

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    1. We were once very close ourselves but nowhere near this fellow's place.

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  13. Hey Jim,

    Beautiful post and equally beautiful pictures :)

    Your pal Snoopy :)

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    1. Thanks Snoopy, Mr Therapy Dog!

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  14. Jim, there is something wrong with me, because the ones that hurt my heart the most are the dogs of beggars. I want to take every one of them home. The dogs, not the beggars.

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    1. Terry, I know what you mean. I see those dogs here as well. But you know what? The ones I've seen are the most well-behaved and obedient dogs around. As to their care, I think that all depends on the owner's state of mind, as it does with all other dogs.

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  15. I do think precicely as you do, Jim, & I do too always heve something for everyone.. .
    So sad to see ma man sitting on the edge of a street and on the edge of life.......surely I would help each and everyone if I only could..... .

    ciao ciao Jim and a sunny sunday!!!!

    ciao ciao elvira

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  16. mh, another writing error,(ma) Jim, excuse me! elvira

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    1. You are excused Elvira but please don't let it happen again! lol Kidding....hope this doesn't get lost in translation! I would not be as brave as you are and try to translate this into Italian!! I was not blessed with that ability, as you are.

      I help were I am able and this was something I could do immediately.

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  17. I was chatting with one of Iranian students and she said that it is their custom : if they lent you a dollar, that you should pas it on rather than return it---"Pay It Forward" concept!!!!! Something I need to be aware of ==Always!!

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  18. Hi 'Doug'!! Long time no see! Maybe over the next short while we can change that.
    Good custom to have....wonder if the bank would go along with that! lol

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  19. Oh, I totally agree with you. Lots of people say that the beggars are just scammers, but I think that is so cynical. I always try to give a little - if not money, then a hot drink or something to eat.

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    1. I figure nobody would want to do this if they didn't HAVE to.

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