By Max R. Weller
I haven’t seen this in any other city where I’ve been homeless for real, like Kansas City, MO. It probably has something to do, in part at least, with Boulder being such a lily-white place; you won’t find white kids of means hanging out in the inner city with actual gangstas. Mostly, I think it’s the hippie culture which lingers on here — and I’m not referring to the Rainbow Family who visit every summer, because they’re fake hippies (more like a cult of the unwashed).
Yesterday, I was enjoying the day in my north Boulder neighborhood around the 4900 block of N. Broadway. I was reading, sipping ginger ale, watching the world go by, etc. The young lady I see walking by on a regular basis with three little kids in tow (I still think she’s the nanny, not their mom) stopped and presented me with a paper boat which one of the boys had made for me. Later on, a couple of workers from a business in that small commercial district paused as they were driving out and gave me a piece of Starbucks coffee cake, and also had some kind words for me. Once again I played the role of humble beggar on the corner at U.S. 36, and took in another $34 in two hours (that’s $109 total in 6 1/2 hours over the past three days, about as good as it gets in my experience).
However, just before I decided to step out to my spot shortly before 4PM, a bunch of these annoying fake homeless brats came prancing up to my spot in the shade in front of the Mexican restaurant. Uninvited, of course. Don’t misunderstand, there are homeless youth in Boulder, and Attention Homes does great work with them . . . But these other characters are role-playing, and they’re naive enough to believe that living on the streets and staying drunk/stoned every day is FUN. One of ’em was in the sober-only transitional living program at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless for only one day, before being tossed out for failing the Breathalyzer test when he came back in the evening. He tried to use the excuse of taking cough syrup which had alcohol in it, but that’s also against the rules and alcohol-free cough remedies are available. I’ve overheard this 20-something clown talking about his mom and his home, where he’s no longer welcome to lie around all day drinking and drugging instead of working and/or attending college. Good for you, mom! All he has to do is to conform his behavior to her minimal standards, and he can go back home. Instead, the obnoxious jerk is using the limited resources of the local homeless shelter/services industry. And he has a girlfriend, who is also a fake.
It reminds me of a young lady who was at BSH about three years ago — I actually saw her mother (and the family resemblance is unmistakable) drop her off at the Boulder Shelter for [Yuppie Brats] and the reason for it quickly became obvious. The 20-something chick was a dipsomaniac, and may still be. Her mom probaly envisioned this experience as a means to shock the young woman back into sobriety, but it didn’t work and she became romantically involved with a bum she met at BSH. I haven’t seen her around for a long time, but then I don’t frequent the hangouts of homeless rat packs.
Back to yesterday in my neighborhood: After I’d been on the corner for only a short time, the leader of this band of fake homeless youth (there were four or five in all) came out and asked if they could “fly a sign” there. They might just as easily have found another corner during the rush hour traffic, but they were too damn lazy to be bothered looking for one and I wasn’t going to help ’em out by stepping off mine. BTW, this idjit had introduced himself to me as “Paddy” and I told him my name, just as a courtesy before shooing him away. The last thing we need is a bunch of obnoxious fake homeless youth to go along with the numerous drunken bums who panhandle at N. Broadway & U.S. 36. Anyway, Paddy goes back to my shady spot with his followers (a couple of whom looked like minors to me). Then, he gets the bright idea to start his own version of aggressive panhandling in the bike lane of southbound Broadway. Marching along, wildly gesticulating at northbound motorists as well as shouting at ’em and thrusting his sign towards ’em, and even harassing employees in the businesses there who were leaving to go home. At first it pissed me off. Then, the sheer comedy of it became too much to resist and I enjoyed Paddy’s sideshow. Nobody driving by gave him so much as the time of day . . . It’s a wonder that someone didn’t report this stupidity; aggressive panhandling is illegal in our fair city, and Paddy was inside the city limits during part of his marching spectacle.
Is this what folks on Pearl Street Mall have to put up with? If so, there needs to be some resonable regulation of panhandling in Boulder, CO (although my corner is located outside the city limits).
File this one under Only in Boulder.