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The other evening, I spent my work dinner break taking a little field trip to Continental Coffee for one of the best latte's on the drive. You can't beat the price either, cuz you get a double 16 ouncer for just $2.85 - that's pocket change thanks to the good old loonie and twoonie. As I passed the liquor store I noticed a young man sitting on the street with a coffee cup in his hand. His face and neck were tattooed, he was wearing a grimy ball cap and he had a black pit bull snuggled against his side.

"Spare some change?" he said, looking at me through bleary, reddened eyes.

I shook my head and looked him in the eye. Without pausing, I gave him an encouraging smile. I was just few steps away when I heard him calling to my back.

"Can you answer a question for me? Why don't people give a fuck about the homeless?"

I stopped dead in my tracks, then I spun on my heel and strode back to him.

"You think that because I didn't give you money, I don't give a fuck about the homeless?" My voice was a low growl, my tone incredulous.

"Well... uh... no..." he stammered. "I mean, people. I just wonder about people. why don't they give a fuck? Ok, so I'm drunk." He was petulant now his voice almost a whine. "But I'm not a bad person."

I couldn't believe it. How could he not know this? Seriously, how can he be sitting there on the street outside the liquor store pan handling and really be asking this question? Asking me this question? Me on a short break from my work with my feminist politics and anti-oppression analysis right in the forefront of my mind. I thought about racism and sexism. I thought about the olympics, the downtown east side and the colonization of Canada's aboriginal peoples. I thought about war and about violence against women.

"Because people are assholes!" I threw back. "People are mostly crap". We looked at each other for a moment, him sipping booze out of a Starbucks cup, me with my hands jammed deep in my pockets - fingers curled protectively around my $3 salvation. Finally, I sighed. "I'm still not going to give you any money," I said breaking the silence. "but you're wrong. I do care about the homeless and the poor. Take it easy, have a good night."

"Yeah."
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somejauntypolka

January 2014

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