Come on Down to Homelessville!

It has been requested of me to write a post on the homeless people we see all around town, so, being the good natured person that I am, I figured I would oblige this request.

First of all, to anyone who hasn’t been to Tampa, FL, I’m not sure you know how bad the homeless problem is here.  Unless maybe you live in another big city, but I digress.   If you drive down any street around here, especially one leading to a major interstate or US Highway, you will most likely see people begging on the median for change (and not the kind Obama offered!)  I do like that the city makes them wear bright yellow and orange caution vests so I don’t hit them in the road.  Sometimes, they offer you something for your change- like a bottle of water or the Sunday paper or some flowers.  This is actually respectable, I think.  Newsies back in the day were pretty much the same thing: poor, homeless people and orphans.  If you’re going to pay money for the paper anyways, you might as well help the guy out and buy it from him, plus you won’t even have to stop anywhere on your way to wherever to get it.

Then there’s the people that you have to wonder if they are really homeless or just lazy scam artists.  I remember my high school government teacher telling me how he went to Washington D.C. one time (where they apparently also had a large homeless problem) and saw a guy on crutches begging for money on the side of the road.  At the end of the day, he was driving back to his hotel and saw the same guy get up, throw his crutches in the back of his Ferrari, and drive off.  Apparently panhandling in D.C. really pays off!  Another friend of mine told me how she was downtown waiting for a tow truck after she was in an accident one time.  The homeless guy who had been begging at the median came across and asked is she needed any help, after politely declining, she watched him walk into HIS HOUSE! The homeless man had a house!  Another friend told me he saw a homeless man begging on one corner of he street, and on the corner across was a Flying J that had a “now hiring” sign.  When he pointed this out to the homeless man, he just said “They wouldn’t pay me enough”!

Then there’s also plenty of cases of where they say they are starving, so you offer to buy them a cheeseburger or something and they politely decline saying they already have food.  Well, then clearly they are not starving!  This is why I won’t give money to any of them, you can’t tell who, if anyone, is legit!  It’s sad that people are so lazy.  I work a crappy job so I can pay my bills, I’m sure they can find something!

Then there’s also the countless bums walking around places like Ybor and downtown St. Pete.  These bums are more scary I think.  When you see them, you are generally not protected by your car.  Then they tend to follow you around no matter how many times you protest and claim to only have plastic on you.  Most of these guys just want beer money.  If they were honest about it, I may even be tempted to help them out.  But let’s be honest, I need beer money too!  There are some homeless people that have a little more pride.  They, like the waterboys and newsies, what to give you something in exchange for their money, so they give you whatever random things they collected, like seeds or bags full of condoms.  Again, at least they are trying to help you out too.

I guess, when all is said and done, the homeless problem will never be as bad here as many other places.  Still, if you want my money you have to work for it.  Have a clever sign.  Offer me something in exchange for my money.  Show you are somehow going to ear my hard earned money.  Don’t try to scam me, it insults my intelligence, and that is one thing I will not tolerate being insulted!

Save the Drama for Television

I always thought that T.V. and movies over dramatized the way things are in real life (think “Mean Girls”, “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”, “Dawson’s Creek”, etc.) I always watched these shows and thought, “who can relate to these things?!” Even reality TV I always dismissed as completely unrealistic. But apparently I was wrong. Apparently I’ve managed to fly under the drama radar for nearly twenty-five years. I survived all of middle school, high school, and college without ever really having to worry about liars, cheats, and backstabbers. But apparently it really does exist in real life, far more than I ever knew. Maybe it’s because I’m a likable enough person. Maybe since I try to be nice to everyone, they’re generally at least civil towards me. Maybe because I tend to drop friends that prove to be, well, unfriendly. Maybe because I’ve, until recently, always had mostly mature friends and hung mostly around guys I never noticed it, but girls are mean! They are manipulative and vindictive. This is why I could never join a sorority. Also why I never had very many girl friends except my few best friends. I think, at the end of the day, they’re just jealous. Jealous that I can make friends anywhere I go. Jealous that almost everybody, except them, likes me. Jealous that I am free to do as I please without a husband, or boyfriend, or parents, or kids to tie me down. Jealous that I go places and suddenly upgrade to VIP status. At the end of the day my life is filled with AWESOME because I make it that way. Think it will happen, and it will. Everything happens for a reason.

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