Monday, September 04, 2006

The Ultimate DIY

A while back I was taking a friend to IKEA to pick up a new futon. At the time I didnt know whether or not the futon would fit inside my SUV or if it would need to be put on the roof.
At this time I hadn’t washed my car in a while so on the way to my friends I decided to go through the self serve car wash to take off at least one layer of the grime.
As I pulled in to the bay a man came around telling me where the change machines were located, how much the wash cost and how much time you got. Initially I thought it was odd that there was a guy working at the self serve car wash, then he followed up by saying “I’ll wash it for you, for a small fee”. At that point I realized that he was a homeless person looking to pick up some cash.
I opted to wash my car myself since I wanted to put a little extra focus on the roof in the event that I would be putting a new futon on top, and generally with an SUV the roof is the least focused on part of the car when washing it since its never seen.
He was nice enough to chit chat with me as I was washing my car, asking if I liked to go camping a lot and if that was why I had an SUV.
Then he started with the personal questions.
Random Homeless Guy - So, do you have a boyfriend?
Me - No
RHG - Do you want one?

uhh... I think I see where this is going so I answer very matter of factly

Me - Nope.
RHG - really?
Me - really.
RHG - see, I graduated high school and I’ve got 8 years military and a couple years college under my belt...
Me - thats great!
RHG - I've been on the streest for 12 years now and I just need a good woman to take me in and clean me up, put my resume together, get me a nice suit and find me a job.
Me - uhhh, thats really one of those things you have to do for yourself and not have others do FOR you.
RHG - well, I’ve been praying on it here but nothings happening yet

at this point he pulls a bible out of his bag, one that looks brand new and the spine hasn’t even been broken yet.

Me - well, it won’t happen overnight. You can’t pray for it and have it fall in your lap, you have to put some effort in to it.

At this point I was done with washing the exterior of my car and decided to clean out all of the empty water bottles and soda cans that had accumulated in my back seat. Since RHG had been cordial enough, chit chatting with me while I washed my car I offered him 2 plastic grocery bags full of recycleables.

Me - here, you can have these. you can take them up and turn them in for cash
RHG - nah. but leave them there, theres guys that come around collecting cans.


I had so many mixed thoughts after this encounter.

First of all, I was incredibly dismayed that someone who served 8 years in the military is in the position to where they are homeless and have been living on the streets for 12 years. I notice that a lot of the people you see on street corners holding up signs are vets.
When you see the commercials for our armed forces they all say that they will help you to prepare for a career. Granted, the person has to be willing to put the effort in to continuing their career after their discharge. I just can’t help but notice how many homeless people are ex-military.

Second - I think this guy was in the position he was in because he was unwilling to put in any effort to be more.
While I wouldn’t give him cash, I did offer him recyleable cans and bottles that he could have taken in for cash and gotten something to eat from it. He just wasnt willing to take the bags of cans and bottles up to the store 2 blocks away where there was a recycling station.

Third - This guy is the ultimate DIY project. Take a man and try to mold him in to what you want. Not my idea of good boyfriend material. Also, this is a good example of why I’m single. I have no delusional idea that I’ll meet some guy and be able to mold him in to what I want. Men, and women, pretty much come “as is” and I’ve yet to meet anyone who I’d be willing to accept “as is”.
Some may say I’m picky, I think I’m just aware of what I’m willing to compromise on and what I’m not.

5 comments:

Maya said...

Remind me to share my car wash/RHG experience with you next time I see you.

kimananda said...

I always wonder in these types of situations what will happen next? I can't imagine that he'll find what he's looking for, which is quite sad really.

Tanya Kristine said...

i also wonder if he's really a vet. or do ALL of them say that so that we'll feel obligated to give them money since they 'defended our country'. they're con artists don't forget. you gave him an alternative and he didnt' want it...probably why he's homeless.

and yeah...who wants to mold a man?

Shauna said...

Most people are homeless because they choose to be. I'm not discounting all the people with legitimate situations that drove them to the streets, yada yada yada... but after I lived in Humboldt, I became a little bit cynical of people who beg for money. When you actually get to know them (more than once I hung out in the square and pretended to be one of them), they're just a bunch of junkies and wanderers that for one reason or another really can't handle the ties that come with an actual residence. One time I offered my leftovers (we had just gone to dinner) to a "homeless" person and I was denied because this "homeless" person was a vegetarian. Bah. Can you tell I have some opinions?

As for the boyfriend idea, maybe your mom would be interested? :D

Shananigans said...

I put little stock in what RHGs say, I have to presume they could be completely lying through their teeth. I actually had one as a boyfriend for just under a year after my freshman year in college, who presented himself as a tough luck story, horrible parents, bad childhood, mom dying of cancer (which actually turned out to be true, unlike a lot of other things he told me), blah blah blah, just trying to work and get ahead and for a while I bought it. After my life was mostly trashed and I ended up dropping out of school for a semester, I learned that the love of a good woman can’t really change a man. Or convince him that “pot dealer” is not really a good viable long-term career option. Glad you know better ;) How’s that quitting going sweety?