Thursday, May 24, 2007

the curious incident of the woman in the subway

I'm back, the wedding was lovely, and a good time was had by all!

Here's a story from last week: Aaron and I were walking into a subway station when a woman started her song-and-dance.

"Do you have a loonie? I just need another loonie to get on the subway, the guy won't let me in if I don't have exact change."

I said no and kept walking, but Aaron decided to give her a subway token. There was a brief pause as we waited to see if she'd give him the change she already had in her hand, but she didn't, and Aaron shrugged and moved on. A few minutes later, we got on a train, and the woman got on the same car as us.

"Good," I said to Aaron, "at least she actually used the token to get on the train like she said."

After one stop, the woman got out of her seat and started walking along the subway car in our general direction. She asked the passengers on either side, "Do you want to buy a token?"

She actually made it all the way to the guy sitting next to us. When it seemed that he was going to buy it, I spoke up and said, "Excuse me. We gave you that token. I hope you put it to good use!"

She went back to her seat with her boyfriend and got off at the next stop without making eye contact. Aaron and I joked around a bit with the guy who almost bought our token.

So here's the thing: The woman was obviously ashamed of being caught in her tricks. I really do hope that she was ashamed of lying to well-intentioned people and taking advantage of them. That's why I said what I did. I think I was still feeling angry about an incident earlier in the month where I had been pressured into giving someone a bus ticket, and I felt I had no polite way out of the forced conversation but to give it to him.

But I hope this woman didn't think I meant her to feel shame for being poor and needing to beg. That was not my point. I just wish she would have asked for money if that's what she really wanted, instead of swindling people.


Laura said...

Remember the lady who was singing as we left the theatre? That was cool.

Diedre said...

Yeah. Talk about singing for your pennies! I've had a singing streetcar driver before, he sang out all the stops.