Well, maybe "they" feel uncomfortable with your fuzzy cardigan sweaters and Saltwater sandals!
Or maybe that's just me. Maybe I feel uncomfortable with the fact that grown women regularly wear children's sandals!
The Wall Street Journal recently published a Brooklyn woman's dirty little secret. Get this. "Panhandlers make [her] crazy."
Anne Kadet doesn't like that she relates so much to Marie Antoinette, but she just doesn't understand why she should give money to people who might turn right around and use that money to buy alcohol. Or all the illegal drugs she's heard so much about. Or soda. She feels justified in this! Her friends don't like to give money to dirty homeless people either. She even quotes Mary Brosnahan who is the executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless—I'm just going to repeat this: THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE COALITION FOR THE HOMELESS—as saying, "I'm working so hard! Why can't [they] do the same?"
Which, wow. Okay! So even people who ostensibly understand that the root causes of homelessness and the reality that panhandlers are not all homeless and that many people who are actually homeless suffer from a whole host of disabilities that, yes, frequently involve addiction, but also involve many severe mental disorders, even people like THAT ultimately think—Go get a job, you lazy parasite!
In fairness to Ms. Brosnahan, Kadet notes that "still, Ms. Brosnahan gives to everyone who isn't obviously high. Her donation: cash and a train pass. 'People's faces light up when you give them a MetroCard.'" Well, isn't that nice! They ought to be fucking grateful they're getting a Metrocard. I hope they whisper Ms. Brosnahan's names in their prayers at night. That's the only reason I ever do anything good. I want to think people include me in their prayers. I need all the help I can get.
Of course, the other reason their faces might "light up" at the sight of the Metrocard is that now they have easy access to the subway and an infinite supply of new people to ask for money.
Well played, Brosnahan, well played!
Kadet is not interested in this type of giving, however, it just seems so... excessive. She confesses that, "this all sounded lovely, but I was still interested in finding out the least I could do and consider myself a decent person."
That's relatable, right? Whenever I hear about good works being done, I always think, Okaaayyyy...but how can I get the satisfaction of other people thinking I'm a decent person without actually DOING anything decent? Like, ever?
Luckily, Kadet came up with an idea. She would carry around $100 in singles for a week and dole one out for each poor, unfortunate soul who asked. You know who else has a lot of sympathy for "poor, unfortunate souls?" This woman. Though she's not what you'd consider a humanitarian.
Anyway. Although she implemented her plan, Kadet was in for a big surprise! What was it? It was that, "few people actually asked for money." You see, Kadet "had this idea that New York is an American Calcutta—a sea of neediness threatening to overwhelm and impoverish the generous. Not so."
After a full week, Kadet had only given away $6 and was left wondering if "the homeless [had] all decamped to Martha's Vineyard for the summer?"
In the end, Kadet realizes that she felt good about giving those who asked for $1. She wouldn't feel good about giving them $20, but she felt good about the $1, and better than if she did what she normally did, which—I am guessing, she never ACTUALLY says this—was spit on them.
And what did I realize at the end of this confession?
That my gag reflex kicks in for A REASON when I see women in fuzzy cardigans.
It's because they suck.
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen