I came across a guy I’ve seen more than a few times. Like always, he was standing close to the Madison Theatre on Madison Avenue. He’s a panhandler and I can only assume he was enjoying the warm weather too. It can’t be any fun panhandling in the winter.
“Hey man, got any change?” he asked. I looked at his cardboard sign which was asking the same thing.
“No, sorry,” I said. “I can give you a cigarette.”
“Don’t smoke,” he said back.
”That’s all I can do,” I replied.
“It’s OK,” he said. “Gotta get enough change to get bus far to Cincinnati.”
“More foot traffic over there,” he said. “It’s hard panhandling over here. I can go for long periods of time without seeing anybody.”
I nodded my head at him and continued my walk. Taking into account what he just said, I started to notice the people around me—or maybe I should say the lack of them.
If you have stuff to sell, Covington is a good location as there are plenty of pawn shops, but if you’re down on your luck, you are better off to go across the river to Cincinnati. I don’t think people are nicer over there, but at least a panhandler can make up for that in the volume of people that they meet.
I wish the panhandler was a smoker. I surely would have given him a cigarette.
(Photo from sfgate.com)