Archive for the 'panhandling' Category

Thanks, Tony

January 21, 2008

Roentgen’s hand

TONY
“Do you remember the fellow I was coaching a few weeks back?

“Well, believe it or not, I turned him in. It was small stuff he was into, but he wasn’t sticking to his word to me, so I had to turn him in. I even told the cops where to find him. So he gets hauled off to jail in cuffs and they charge him and now he’s going to trial in a few weeks. So you know what he says to me when he sees me? … ‘Thanks, Tony. Now I don’t have look behind me everywhere I go.’

“Well, I never turned a friend in before but this time it was the right thing to do.”

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Of want and need

January 18, 2008

Bank of England

TONY
“You know that the Rogers Video store is closing, the one at up at Howard Park? Nobody’s in there most of the time anyway. ”

Folks just don’t like big-name stores on this street. Well, except for the banks and the coffee places. Everybody needs them.”

On the road

January 15, 2008

PHILIP
“Your face is distinctly green.”

TONY
“Someone else sid that and it’s true. I can’t keep anything down. I bought myself a nice sausage and it ended up all over the road. Could you buy me a can of stew or chili?”

PHILIP
“You’re kidding, aren’t you? You want chili?”

TONY
“Yup. Trust me. It’s what I need right now.”

Re-curse

January 14, 2008

Recursion

TONY
That photo you posted on the blog yesterday, it makes it look like I’m sitting in the middle of a pile of garbage. It’s sad to see myself like that.

The homeless situation

January 13, 2008

The homeless situation

Soothing the soul

January 4, 2008

On a white horse

TONY
“Thanks [for the coffee, Phil]. This is the first one I’ve had in 3 days.”

PHILIP
“Where were you?”

TONY
“Mostly at Mike’s place. I just pay him some rent and his girlfriend is cool with it.”

PHILIP
“What’ve you been eating … you haven’t even had a coffee in 3 days?”

TONY
“Nope. Noodles, mostly.”

PHILIP
“What do you do while you’re at Mike’s?”

TONY
“Well, other than sleeping, I do stuff that needs doing around the house and I watch TV and some other things. But my favourite is old-time radio on AM900. You can’t beat the Lone Ranger.”

Bearding with whiskers

December 31, 2007

Bearding with whiskers

PHILIP
“Where did you sleep last night?”

TONY
“Do you like my trim?

PHILIP
“Very elegant. Where did you sleep last night?”

TONY
“My friend had locked up for the night so I went round to the my donut shop, which is where I trimmed my beard in the bathroom. I got myself into a bit of a confrontation with this guy who came into the bathroom after me. He was pissed that I’d left my beard hairs in the sink. So told him that if he hadn’t been knocking on the bathroom door so hard and pleading to get in, I would have cleaned up after myself like always. He didn’t like being shown up but after the waitress told him the same thing, he went and sat down and shut his mouth.

“Some people like him don’t see that they make their own problems.”

Assassinating Benazir Bhutto

December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto

PHILIP
“Did you hear that Benazir Bhutto was just assassinated?”

TONY
“Yeah, someone just told me about that. I bet you President Bush caused it somehow.”

Beige existence

December 22, 2007

Tony’s new coat

TONY
“A lady I know, her father died so she brought me down his coat to see if it would fit me. Nice, eh.”

John gets a home

December 18, 2007

Water drops

PHILIP
“Where did you sleep last night?”

TONY
“Right now, I’m sleeping down in the basement at my friend Mike’s. I’ve been doing some work for him on and off. He needs a john in his place and I found one the other day that someone was throwing out — right there on the sidewalk not far from here. The whole toilet was there, no cracks or anything. So I hauled it over to Mike’s and I’m installing it for him.”

Cough-22

November 28, 2007

Sigmund Clemens

PHILIP
“You’re coughing again.”

TONY
“You’re telling me! It’s pushing my gut through my stomach muscles now.”

PHILIP
“Why don’t you go down to St. Joe’s and see a doctor?”

TONY
“No point.”

PHILIP
“What?”

TONY
“They’ll just write me up a prescription, but how’m I going to pay for it?”

PHILIP
“Come on, Tony, there’s got to be a government drug payment scheme for people in your situation.”

TONY
“Yeah, I’m working on that.”

My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends

November 13, 2007

Trojan porsche

TONY
“Phil, you should hear what happened to me Saturday night:

I was paying my respects to Silvio, the homeless guy who got killed in September down at King and Ronces, the guy I told you about and we wrote in the blog. So I got on my bike and I start coughing and coughing and coughing, you know, because of my pneumonia. Anyway, I was riding down King Street while I was coughing my ass off — guess who comes around the corner down near Dufferin? I’ll tell you who came around the corner. It was that same fire truck from 426 Division, you know the one that saved me from being run over last winter and it’s also the same one that ran over my friend a few months back. So I nearly hit this truck — but I don’t — but there’s this car behind the truck and this car is totally new, shined up and everything. Plus, believe it or not, it’s a new Porsche 911. I’m not kidding you. So I try to miss hitting the Porsche but I wiped out, into into the back quarter panel. So, of course, the guy gets out of the car, of course he’s pissed at me, and I’m telling you, he’s six-foot-something and he’s got biceps that could crack walnuts. So he looks at down me and says: ‘I know you. You’re homelessmanspeaks.com.’ So he’s was pretty nice to me considering but now I owe him $100.”

Job troubles, bone troubles and crack troubles

December 29, 2006

PHILIP
“Tony, why don’t you look for a job? One guy even put a question on the blog asking why you don’t look for a job every day. Lots of people genuinely don’t understand why you don’t. I even bet quite a few people who are sympathetic to the homeless issue have problems with the job thing.”

TONY
“OK, well, first of all, you don’t get paid for looking for a job because you’re not at your panhandling station. So how am I supposed to get food when I’m looking for a job?

“And how are folks supposed to call me when I don’t even have a phone? Well, if anyone ever finds out that I went and got a cell phone, I bet most of ’em wouldn’t give me money again. A homeless guy with his own cell phone?! You got to be kidding me. Even if someone gave it to me I’m dead in the water.

“Then there’s that I don’t even have an address. You can’t even a shower except in a shelter or sometimes when you rent a room.

“Look at the bags under my eyes. How’s someone going to hire you if you got bags under your eyes since you don’t get enough sleep?

“I’ve got a bad back, my knees are killing me and there’s my collar bone. So I can’t do stuff with lots of walking or lifting things like I used to. I used to deliver those big phone books. You should try carrying eight phone books on your shoulder going straight uphill.

“Plus my feet are real bad. I’ve got a [deep skin] crack in both of ’em now.

“Anyway, just have those folks walk in my shoes for one day. Then you’ll understand what it’s all about.”

Standing up

December 13, 2006

Tony standing up

TONY
“Do you see the guy panhandling just on the corner [Tony points south, across the street]? The young blond guy with the beard. I asked him and he said that he’s got a pregnant wife and they were kicked out of the hostel the other day. Well, I checked him out and he checks out. I’ve seen his wife and she’s sure pregnant. If he wasn’t being straight up, I would’ve run him out of here. But if the guy’s for real, then you’ve got to let him be. Everybody’s got a right to eat.

“See, people don’t realize it but homeless folks need to keep up their reputations or otherwise no one ain’t getting nothing from nobody, if there’s fakes out there asking for money. If they ain’t for real, they shouldn’t be there.”

The benefit of vice

December 6, 2006

TONY
“There’s this guy who comes by at night sometimes. Sometimes he hands me a pack of smokes, they’re Matinees. Turns out he isn’t allowed to smoke at home, so the woman who lives upstairs goes and follows him whenever he gets caught. Then the guy pretends he’s just bringing me a pack, so there won’t be any trouble.”

Under the sheltering sky

December 4, 2006

PHILIP
“When it gets cold like last night [-5 C], do you go to a sleeping shelter if you can’t get a bed?”

TONY
“Never. Don’t use them. They’re too dangerous.

“People think shelters are safe places because it’s the city that runs them. But they’re not. When the politicians do their visits to check how the shelters are, everyone on the inside knows they’re coming. They clean the place up nice and everyone is on their good behaviour. I’ll sleep outside if I can’t get a good bed.”

The invisible man

December 1, 2006

Tony’s not here

PHILIP
Tony isn’t here this morning.

It’s Buster Keaton weather — but colder. No doubt, umbrella vendors are delighting in visions of pedestrians dancing convexxedly with their soon-to-be mangles of nylon and aluminium.

I don’t know where Tony is; probably no one does. The morning weather might have kept him where he slept last night. Perhaps not. I’ve seen Tony at his post in the deepfreeze of mid-winter.

Sidewalk traffic is sparse and hurried. Given today’s inclement weather, Tony would be hard-put to collect enough for a warm bed. When I next see him, I’ll ask him about the irony.

Tony’s question about (grande vanilla) “lattes”

November 17, 2006

Tony avoiding rain at twilight

TONY
“Hey Phil, what’s a ‘latte’ ?”

PHILIP
“You don’t know what a ‘latte’ is?”

TONY
“Well I know it’s a coffee drink.

“Now, earlier this morning a lady comes up to me and asks me if I was spending all my money on lattes. I told her that I didn’t know what a latte was and she told me about it. So I’m asking you, do you know what a ‘latte’ is?”

“I was never embarrassed like that in my whole life”

November 11, 2006

Tony on Remembrance Day

TONY
“This morning, I was never embarrassed like that in my whole life. Me and my friend went to breakfast. I told my friend that it was no problem because I could pay for it with my 15 bucks. After breakfast, I couldn’t find my 15 bucks anywhere and I looked everywhere. I followed back my whole trail back to here [Tony’s spot on Roncesvalles Ave.] but I couldn’t find it. I nearly took my clothes off looking for it [Tony smiles]. So I had to tell the owner [of the restaurant] that I would pay him later. He didn’t have a problem because he sees me nearly every day so he trusts me. Even my friend was embarrassed.”

Tony’s cardboard sign

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