Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bad Society

Stepped out for lunch and stood on the corner of Nicollet Ave. and 11th St. to take pictures.

Of what? Why, of cyclists biking past the NO BIKES sign.

These signs run all up and down Nicollet Mall. They forbid bikes from 6AM-6PM, MON-FRI, yet between 12:30-1:00 PM I got over 16 photos of cyclists riding up and down the street. Mpls. police's official position is that they are understaffed (and otherwise uninterested) and so are not inclined to bust most biking offenses (like anything that falls under Minn. Stat. 169.222, apparently). And yeah, I'd rather see them breaking up a child porn ring than hauling in a cyclist on Nicollet, but still.

As I walked back to the office, a short, brawny NO SPECIFIC ETHNICITY man brightly asked if I had any change. I didn't, so I said, "Sorry, I don't."

He lost his sunny grin, squared his shoulders and set his jaw. His brow furrowed and he gave me an unblinking once-over, either to identify what I had on me or just to assess my physical prowess. It flashed through my mind that I might have to defend myself, right here on the sidewalk, in the middle of the city, in the middle of the day. I looked him in the eye and he didn't make a move, and I left.

Why is it unreasonable that I should want to walk down the sidewalk unmolested? Why is it unreasonable that I should want to move through the city without constantly being hit up for money? I work for my money: why am I expected to hand it over to any and every jackoff who asks for it?


noma-neko said...

you totally should have said to him, "i'm sorry i don't have any money to give to you. however, should you like to earn it, i can provide you with this shiny nickel upon successful completion of the task i have in store for you."

you could have made him run up & down the street squawking like a chicken.

Christian said...

Goddamn, that's funny. I wish I had you around when I encounter these people. I'm all, "Look: a dollar isn't going to solve your problems, not in the long run. Let me teach you some basic office skills." I would definitely pay a dollar for the successful completion of miniature scavenger hunts, for example.

noma-neko said...

i wonder what would actually happen then...would they do the task at hand or just walk on to the next victim?

i dunno. i feel if people are going to ask for money, they should have to work for it like i do.

Christian said...

Well, yeah. I don't want to trivialize their plight, but they're just demanding something for nothing. It's not a solution to their problem: no matter how much they make in a week, they'll be out there next week doing the same thing.

Other people busk very well, talented musicians performing for money. Sometimes you can even get a gutterpunk to tell a story in exchange for change. But then you've got these no-account bums who ask for a quarter and, when you give it, get angry and say, "Is that all?"