The Daily Chaos of Kalamity K
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I Didn't Ask You For Anything, Miss...
So, I was going to the symphony last night. I had to take
a taxi because I was running so egragiously late. And of
course, I got out of the taxi all scattered with my stuff
flying every which way. Typical of me because I'm so
fucking flaky. Fantastic, that. Endearing to some, I
suppose. [-smiles a bit wanely-] I am ever so cute, or
so I've been told by many many people from all over. [-
smiles a bit again-]
Anyway. I got out of the taxi at the corner of the
building and then walked to the main doors that were only
a few seconds away. There are always a few homeless guys
or women who hang out around symphony hours and they are
usually the same people. It's sort of odd, but there are
few places in Toronto like this. You have Roy Thomson
Hall, which is the home of the "chi-chi" symphony and
symphony-goers, and directly across the narrow street
outside the main doors is a beautiful old church called
St. Andrew's. The reason that is an odd thing is that
it's got some sort of historical (and perhaps present)
ties to social work/help for people in need. So you have
a place where homeless and destitute people and/or those
who have some big-time problems and can't or can barely
keep themselves afloat come to gather together, right
across from a place where the theoretical upper-crust of
the city gather on a regular basis. (I realize there are
some stereotypes going on here, but I'm trying to keep it
simple for recounting's sake, that's all.)
So, as I pass this guy sitting just before the main doors,
he says something to me. He'd already spoken to the
people in front of me, and he had a collection cup in his
hand, so was clearly, at some stage, anyway, asking for
money. I must admit, I was still scattered, trying to
wrestle a five-dollar bill into my wallet (change from the
taxi), trying to organize my giant, heavy bag, and my huge
winter coat, and trying to make sure I didn't slip on the
pavement because of the shoes I was wearing, and, in all
honesty, trying to avoid being spoken to by the
panhandlers because I had my wallet out but no chance and
I always feel guilty when I have no money to give. I
didn't really hear what the guy said, and I was not paying
attention, so my old standby line came out.
"I'm sorry, I don't have any."
The guy got all offended. With a slightly outraged and
indignant tone in his voice, he said, "I said enjoy the
concert, miss, I didn't ask you for anything."
"Oh!" I answered. "I'm sorry. Uhm...thank you."
As I was walking into the hall, feeling just worse and
worse, I also started laughing and being irritated
myself. I know it sounds stupid but...jesus, excuse me.
I guess it was completely out of the realm of possibility
for me to think he had asked me for money, as he was
sitting there, on the street, with a collection cup. I
felt terrible but it was also a bit of an absurd moment,
too. I don't know. I probably sound cold-hearted or
something. I don't actually think that that is true or
that I am cold-hearted. I wish I could do more to help
people but I also do give my change every once in a while
when I have enough. I wish I were wealthy and I could
really do something helpful with my money but I do try in
my own way as it is, though I know my ability to do so is
only very limited.
Anyway. It was one of those moments that struck me as a
bit surreal and wanted to write about it in here...