A Penny For your Thoughts, and for Gasoline

I hate beggars. Don't get me wrong. I hate the fact people have to beg. I hate that begging is the only way for some people to survive. I help when I can. Sometimes I am not in the mood.

Coming home from work every night I tend to avoid the highways. I take a major east-west running artery that cuts along the south end of the Island of Montreal. It runs four lanes in either direction with a speed limit of 70 kilometres per hour.
To the south-east are all the refineries. Further west you will see the Montreal port. Not the Old Port but the industrial section of the docks.
The roadway continues on westward, cutting into downtown Montreal, bisecting it from Old Montreal. This border, leading into the downtown quarter is marked by the hulking Jacques Cartier Bridge. Under the shadow of the bridge, on Ile Sainte-Helene, the La Ronde Ferris Wheel is visible.

As this is a large boulevard, a number of streets intersect along it length. The larger of these intersections are controlled by traffic lights, each light about a half a kilometre apart.

Every day last summer as I drove home from work, I would see the same hipster-doofus dancing on the street corner with his guitar. Everyday I had to watch this mohawked jackass shake his ass in some idiotic version of a rockabilly Elvis move.

Every week during the summer more and more of his faux-punk friends gathered at this one particular intersection begging for cash.

I hate the people who dance in the middle of the street for sympathy change.

With the volume of cars driving up and down the strip, the road has become a hotspot for beggars over the last year. Up and down the row, at almost every light there are homeless, semi-homeless and unemployed asking for money.

I hate the 20-something year olds who do this for a career.

I hate the dishonest beggars who come up with lame stories.

“My truck is over there and I have no gas money.”
What about a cell phone? None? We still have payphones in the city. You must have at least 50 cents to call someone?! Hmm? No. Okay, here is fifty cents, now get off the street and stop lying. And by the way idiot, if you are going to try to pull that same, ‘my truck broke down and I need gas money’, don’t try to pull it off at the same place three times in two weeks.

Serious. He tried it at the exact same corner.

And buddy, by the way, if you do change your story, and insist on begging at the same corner three weeks in a row, don’t change ‘my truck broke down and I need gas money’ to ‘my truck broke down and I need to get it out of the garage’.


  1. I often wonder what that sign says about one when each day you see them with the same sign" No work-Please help" as they hold that money cup. Now are they trying to find work or just working on holding that sign? I do feel bad for these folks however if they can stand for days in one area and hold that sign, walk to path, then they can find work. Often thought of asking them to come do some work for me in the yard, or for the church outside. either way I wondering will they come and work?

  2. I do, on the rare occasion, see the sign "Will work for food". I would guess those I see on the strip consider the begging their work for food.