Jamie knew he was guilty of arrogance and misanthropy, but he compensated by being kind to strangers and tipping really well at restaurants.

Ok, I didn’t write that. Sherman Alexie did. But sometimes I do think that way about myself.

Regular readers might recall my trying to help a stranger 2 months ago. I never saw that $20 again.

Today I was walking down Collins Street after work when this girl came over to me and asked if I could spare any change. The voice sounded familiar. I turned to look at the girl – it was the girl I “lent” $20 to two months ago.

“You have got to be kidding!”, I said to her.

“What?” she said. I found I was still walking, and she was chasing after me!

“You still owe me $20 that you ‘borrowed’ months ago!”, I said.

She continued to follow, staring at me, and said, “I….I don’t know what you’re … what you’re talking about”.

She stopped following. I long ago realised I’d never get that money back, and I actually felt sad for her. She was with another girl – the other girl looked like a druggy.  The other girl then chased me and asked me, “Could you help us out?”.  I said no – a little pissed off.

I continued walking, and was confronted by a third person asking for money. What is going on in Collins Street?  I ignored this person.  I was still feeling quite annoyed.

I then saw the girl meet up with the druggy girl, and some other new guy who was carrying something in a manner that suggested he stole it off someone (sort of a ‘look what I scored, quick, put it back in my pocket’).  That’s four beggars on one journey down Collins Street.  Those 3 ran off ahead of me together – probably to work another street.

A few minutes later a guy I regularly see asked me if I could spare a dollar. I said no.

Then I felt really bad. He wasn’t part of that group, had a kind face, and he’s never been pushy. He didn’t lie to me, he just asked for a dollar. I shouldn’t have let those other 3 upset me. So, I’m sorry to that homeless guy – next time I see him I’ll give him some extra money.

See – people like that girl ruin it for everyone. I don’t think I am really misanthropic, though perhaps I wish I could be.


One thought on “Misanthropy

  • August 6, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    I’ve also been had by a guy that works Latrobe St though I only gave $5.

    But I’ve also had some scrawny kids silently beg at our restaurant table in a developing SEAsian country. A dining companion (an economist incidentally) said not to give anything as they have to take money back to their ‘pimp’. I offered them our leftover food and they accepted EVERYTHING – plain rice, veggies, another time even the scraps of pizza topping that had fallen off onto our plates – scooped it all into a plastic bag, said thank you and left eating with glee.

    After that you can only feel like doing an Angelina and consider adopting orphans!

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