Wow it’s May already. Time flies quickly when one is drowned in life.
It seems that with the warming weather, the bitter coldness of New York turns into uncomfortable, muggy rain. And whenever it rains, the bums escape into the subways, seeking shelter, spare change. It is unfortunate that they have also found out about the nice long peaceful stretch of ride between 14th and 34th Streets, and have deemed it the best time to hit riders up for cash. They are wily, those bums, for they know you cannot escape and there is naught else you can do but pay attention to them.
Not every bum is the same; there are many subspecies of Homo bummicus. Here are the categories I noticed so far:
- Silent Slumberer – These are the most benign bums you’ll meet on the subway systems. They don’t want anything from you, they just want to catch a few winks to prepare them for a heavy night of sleeping ahead of them. The only problem they pose is that they take up lots of seats so as to recline horizontally, and usually smell like an unhealthy mix of decay and keggers.
- Sorry Sob – The most basic of your bums, these are the ones who come in with a story prepared, usually about how they lost their job (most likely due to the economy, or a fire), home (usually from the economy, or a fire), limbs (not so frequently from the economy or fire), and hence need your change to feed their two to six hungry children.
- Talent Tease – Instead of depending on your generosity/magnanimity, these are people who either almost have a talent, or pretend to almost have a talent that they will perform for you. This usually involves some sort of half-assed singing, dancing, or a quarter-ass of both. You usually feel embarrassed by the end and wish they would just beg normally.
- Professor Poser – It is a well known fact that some Professors often stop feeling the need for personal hygiene and regain a form that would make their Neolithic ancestors proud. Unfortunately, this coincides with the visages of people who are financially unable to maintain their appearances. Hence, much confusion abounds. It helps not that the Professor and their Posers both like to ramble and mutter incoherently about incomprehensible things. One can only rely on what Holmesian talents one harbors or guess the true Professor from the Poser.
- Benevolent Bumkeeper – These would be the anti-bums. They go around subway trains announcing that they have bags of food and water, looking for other bums to help. The Bumkeeper usually does this as a part of a volunteer organization which is usually not supported by public funds and guess what, they want your change too. I hypothesize that if ever a Bumkeeper and a real bum met, they would annihilate each other, releasing odors of strengths proportional to their masses.
Ah the joys of the subway…