February 3, 2004
If there's one thing that I hate on the face of the earth it's gimmicks. I have often ranted about my extreme distaste for the prevailing culture of panhandling that's taking place on the streets of Seattle. Some of these pan handlers, mind you, make more than I do in a year. Downtown is probably the worse in terms of gimmick"ers". Some have been there for years while others are new on the scene. There is an assigned schedule as to who gets "what" corner and "when". You will rarely find more than two working a block at once. It is an interesting phenomenon, and if you're dumb and not discerning, they will take your every last dollar. But not this chicky, I reserve my hard-earned blessings for those truly in need. A friend mentioned a comment Lakita Garth, (a great woman of God who's been on Politically Incorrect, the Senate floor, you name it) said in reference to the "homeless" problem, and I paraphrase, "One way to get some of the homeless people off the street is to send them home." Sounds overly simplistic, however very true in many cases. One, being that there are a great many of panhandlers who have places to stay. This is the case with a lot of the teenagers you see here in Seattle. My mom's a college professor and has mentioned that on more than one occassion she has passed by her TUITION-PAYING students, sitting on the streets, with beggar signs. Two, being that like MANY societal problems, the root issue is a family one. This is a present reality. The breakdown of the family pours out into the streets, turns into crime, turns into poverty, and turns into much of what the government has tried to remedy for years. We don't have crime problems, we have family problems. I often wonder what is the state the family relationships of some of the panhandlers I see on the streets. Many have been shunned by their families due to a physical handicap, others may be estranged from key family members. I also realize there are those who may have no family whatsoever. The widows and the orphans. To those, the body of Christ has an immense obligation. Garth's statement was really revelatory to me as I've never pondered the role one's family should (or should not) play in one's financial or housing situation. It bears some thought.
For the abundance of seriousness (and reality) in my words, I feel I need to remain true to the title as I've side-tracked. So I've begun my running list of consistent characters you will find on the streets of downtown Seattle on any given day. Keep in mind, many, if not most of these people are not homeless. This is of course the "greatness of america". You can gimmick your way into just about anything.
Posted by Ambra at February 3, 2004 9:25 PM in Culture
SEATTLE STREETS MOST WANTED
White Boy Conga Drummer Man
This guy irks the heck out of me. I will credit him with consistency as he plays the same beat over and over again on his drums. He also puts bells on his ankles to counter the drumbeat. The only problem is, He's not good. Not good at all. And this guy RACKS up a fortune.
The Guy Who Fishes for Beer
This idiot stands on the corner with a fishing pole. On the hook of the fishing pole is a cup with a sign that reads, 'Fishing for Beer'. And get this, there's ACTUALLY MONEY IN THERE!! Whichever citizens of Seattle feel inclined to give money to someone who is actually advertising their bad habit should be stoned.
The Sargent aka "Sarg" (named by the citizens and not me)
Hogs the corner outside of Nordstrom. Supposedly a "veteran", he sits in a wheelchair (althought strangely enough I've seen him use his legs) with an eye patch and sells roses on occasion. He's become an icon.
Demon-Possessed West Indian Guy
Usually occupies the corner outside of Pottery Barn. Will be found waving a rainbow wand, holding a cardboard sign that says, "The Seattle Police are the devil and the AntiChrist and blah blah blah and some other psychotic nonsense" while screaming at the top of his lungs in a forgein language. When he speaks in english it VAGUELY resembles "patois" a Jamaican dialect but even then you can't understand him. I guess he's encouraging you to read the sign. Beware, he's been known to attack bus riders at their windows.
Can usually be found standing in a statuesque manner on various street corners wrapped in a blanket. At unknown times he will yell at the top of his lungs, "IT IS TIME TO EAT NOW!"
The Tin Man
This guys is actually VERY innovate and interesting. He can only be seen on Saturdays. He paints his entire body in silver, stands on a wooden crate and simulates a "statue". He's actually very brilliant.
Only Tells the Truth Guy
Can always be found holding a sign that says "I Can't Lie, It's for Beer."
"Blind" Man who Sings Lullabies
I think visually impaired is the proper term as the guy's definately not blind. He sings slurred lullabies while waving a cup for money. Usually he will act like he's mentally retarded and can't speak, but I overheard him chopping it up with the Barista about politics the other day. Don't be fooled.