When dealing with the street life in Toronto, diplomacy is always the order of the day.
It doesn't always work, mind you.
One evening, in front of St. Andrew Presbyterian church in Toronto, I had the most remarkable series of conversations that I have ever experienced. The following is the 15 second transcript of the evening, wherein I managed to travel one half block and be damned twice in a most contradictory fashion.
I am "B", vagabond #1 is "A" and vagabond #2 is "C".
A- Hey, spare some change?
B- Sorry, not tonight, pal.
A- Got a smoke, then?
B- Don't smoke, man.
A- I'm talkin' weed.
B- Don't smoke that, either.
A- (yelling)I know you do!!
five steps pass uninterupted.
C- Give me some change.
B- Sorry, not tonight.
C- It's raining and I'm hungry, fucker!
B- I'll think about that.
C- (yelling)I KNOW YOU WON'T!
So, in the span of 15 seconds I had two different people yell two completely contradictory things at me. The second exchange was much more frightening than the first, as "C" was about as much of a crack whore as one can become, and she yelled at me much louder than "A". Plus, "A" made what I thought was a funny, though slightly ominous, character judgement based both on my appearance, and our 5 second "gettin' to know you" session. It would have been like me saying to "A" You poop in your pants!, and "A" denying it, and me countering by stating absolutely, I know you do!
And the funny thing is, in truth they both had me pegged perfectly. Perhaps we could all learn just a little bit more about ourselves if we turned to our city's downtrodden--lent them an ear.
What would they say to you? What lies would they expose?
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