Guy comes up to us walking down the middle of the street at the corner of Parrish and Roxboro, clearly inebriated and possibly not in possession of his full faculties otherwise. Makes a big deal of shaking my hand and thanking me for not being afraid of him. Asks if he can talk to us, and we move out of the street onto the sidewalk. Can't recall if he took his hat off or not, but begins this speech about Jesus, ministers, ex-girlfriends, good hearts, etc., for about 5 minutes in which maybe one word out of 8 is actually intelligible.
Stops, looks and me, and says, "hey, can I just skip through this and get right to the point?" Which i thought was pretty wonderful in its own way.
The point, though, turned out to be another mostly unintelligible 5 minute spiel about needing to get to Butner or Oxford or some place out of town at which point i cut him off and told him i was sorry, but i needed to get the puppy home and didn't have either the time to listen to him or the money to give him.
I have lived in Durham for 17 years, you know. And in that time no one has topped the freelance philosopher i met on Ninth Street that first summer who offered, for a buck, to create a philosophy of life for me on the spot.
Either way, growing up in New York City, where pandhandlers are more numerous, varied, and creative, not to mention the two times in my life where i did my own panhandling, leaves me with a jaded view of Durham's street beggars.
Raise your game, people, if you want Durham to have the respect it deserves.