A Girl’s A Girl

I lost my will to dig into my pockets
for change for homeless people  in grade 11.   I had skipped off school to go downtown
with some friends and saw a [reasonably well-off]  kid I knew from my art
class panhandling.  When it comes to humans, I feel as though they should suck
it up and take care of themselves – I have to.

There are notable
exceptions. Sometimes you just know when someone really needs a hand.
Those are the times I feel good about giving someone five bucks. I
don’t feel good about being duped by the Shaky Lady
or terrified into donating by the woman with the enormous, drugged eyes
who hangs around at Yonge and Dundas shouting, "CAN SOMEBODY GIVE ME
TWO DOLLARS TO EAT?? I’M HUNGRY!" Quite honestly, I’d rather feed Tiger. At least he’s grateful, and unlike the scary woman, he’s actually skinny.

Kev
and I have been doing a lot of cutting back on our spending lately in
an effort to dig ourselves out of the hole we’ve gotten into with the
house. Right now, essentially the only thing we’re buying is groceries.
I wouldn’t think of buying new shoes or having my hair highlighted
because we simply cannot afford those luxuries.

There are many
panhandlers in the Financial District and they can often be found
panhandling indoors in the underground paths. Recently, I’ve noticed a
new lady who holds open one of the doors between First Canadian Place
and TD Centre. She’s very quiet and respectful and I feel like a bag of
dirt when I pass her in the morning, on my lunch hour and after work.
This afternoon I happened to leave the office with an acquaintance.

As
usual, I had to pass the quiet panhandler to get to the train station.
A minute after we passed her, my companion blurted out, "That woman has
had her hair highlighted!" Of course, I hadn’t noticed this because I
was too busy trying to avoid spontaneously bursting into flames for
being so heartless and stingy (nevermind that I quite seriously can’t
spare any change) as I walked by. Stunned, I replied, "What? That girl? Really?" For some reason I thought she must be talking about another co-worker, but there were none around.

"Well, a girl’s a girl!" Sharon succinctly tweeted.

True. A girl is
a girl but I can’t afford to highlight my  hair.  Can panhandling be that lucrative?

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