Spare some Change?
“So what’s it like, living with all the bums?” a colleague asked me, upon discovering I live in gastown/downtown eastside, Vancouver (Canada’s poorest postal code). Caught off guard, I didn’t know how to reply.
One thing for sure: rare is the day when I am not subject to multiple requests for my ‘spare change’.
Over the past few years, I’ve learned a few things that influence my response.
Consider this. Do you ever experience a /Feed Me Now! / sugar low? Or live with someone who does? If so, you will know that getting something, anything to eat, fast, is imperative. Nothing else matters and god help the person who suggests otherwise.
Now, throw this in the mix: Have you ever had a hair-pulling, frustrating experience with some system – a bank, say, or one of those phone loops from hell? The kind of frustration that leaves you helpless and enraged? Now imagine those together: you’re in a /Feed Me Now!/ mode while trying to reach a live human being at the CRA.
The ‘bums’ experience this as a lifestyle – and often fly off the handle with those who maybe, just maybe could help. If they could be reached.
Here’s an experiment. Take off your watch for a week. Discover what it is never to know exactly what the time is. Really. Try it. Imagine no reliable clocks in your home or computer. Yet if you want supper, you must be at the food line at the exact right hour, or you miss it. So let’s hope you wake up in time for breakfast.
Water. Most of the ‘bums’ are dehydrated. Where would you get water throughout the day, as you panhandle?
Speaking of water, you know that grim, squishy feeling you get when your shoes are sopping wet? And for that matter your socks? Imagine that as a lifestyle, day in, day out.
Oh, and teeth. I bet a few readers have known the misery of a toothache, or the ragged edges of a broken filling. How long would you be polite?
Do I have some spare change?
I’m a money coach. Most of my thinking and commentary about money is on an different scale and sifting through entirely different matters.
But sometimes, it comes down to the simple question:
Do I have any spare change?