He sits with a cup and bible held together by string in threadbare pants, sneakers and an old army coat.
I must pass him 10 times a day.
I’ve learned to give money to people who truly open my heart, and there’s something about him that doesn’t do that…and yes…I do occasionally suffer guilt over it.
Call it instinct or Italian intuition, but his mere presence bothers me.
I love the J Crew Mens store. Sometimes I just go in to drool over the buffet of salesmen, one better looking than the other, often wondering if they have a farm someplace where they grow them like ears of sweet corn.
The manager, a guy in his 30s, makes my heart pound since there’s no lack of charm there either. Tall, leggy…a cross between Eric Clapton, Clooney and an awfully cute cocker spaniel. I find myself flirting asking things like…so are these flannel pajamas really as warm as you say?
The one problem tooling into J Crew is I have to pass the guy in the wheelchair reading psalms.
One day, as I was coming back from a job, who do I see pushing his wheelchair toward the bus stop…YES…HIM.
Wait a minute, you mean to tell me, you’re not even crippled? That fucking chair is part of your act?
Boy, did I want to smack him. All the people all day who give him money, and food and God knows what else because he pulls at their heart strings…AND HE’S NOT EVEN HANDICAPPED?
I’m sorry…it just inflames me to no end.
When I saw the manager from J Crew, I brought it up. He laughed and said,”You didn’t know that guy’s a fake? He’s as strong as an ox…I even offered him a stock job.”
This threw me too, that I was the last to know, in my own neighborhood.
The next time I saw him he had a HUGE popcorn container I imagine because holiday tips were so good. He looked at me with phony handicapped eyes and said, “Could you spare a little ya think?”
Wow…did I see red. “I looked at him right in the eye and said, “You can walk buddy…you can fucking walk.”
I actually felt bad afterwards but talked myself out of it. There are so many people who truly can’t walk, like a young girl who lives on 81st Street with Cerebral Palsy I’ve known since she was 9.
One good thing came out of it though…I will never question my intuition again.
I actually owe it an apology.
Welcome to New York folks.