Three weeks ago I was waiting for the train at Downtown Crossing in Boston, when a woman comes onto the platform and starts telling all of the passengers about how she cant buy a bus ticket because a man who was much larger than her had stolen her backpack and she had a diabetic child at home in New Hampshire and all she needed was 30 dollars. She was stranded and she wanted the nice people of Boston to help her get home. She had gone to the police and Amtrak (clearly a bus company) and nobody offered to replace her ticket. She was wearing pajamas and had makeup running down her face. She plead and plead and a number of other passengers offered her some of the spare change that they had in their pockets. I however, did not make eye contact, I felt bad and this was a sad story but for some reason something just didn't seem right. I had heard the story before and felt bad for them, but had living in the city for 9 years made me heartless? Was it possible that I just didn't care about the people around me. I kept thinking about this poor woman and wondering what had become of her... until yesterday!
Yesterday I was running late for work and the red line was running so insanely slow I was getting frustrated. I was standing on the platform trying to read Blood Meridian which is a gut wrenching book and ignore the people around me. I get to a point where the violence in the chapter is peaking and because the book is so well written my adrenaline is rising as well... all of a sudden I hear an all too familiar voice, "LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, I NEED YOUR HELP!"
You have got to be fucking kidding me, same station three weeks apart, must have gotten stranded again, damn this bitch has bad luck! Unless it was the same big black man that had stolen her backpack. But this time she was the one that was diabetic all she had was her insulin and she was 3 months pregnant now (but no child). Well first of all if she is three months pregnant she needs to lay off the meth, and second its amazing that the diabetes transferred to her and her child with diabetes has yet to have been born. She begs and pleads, but this time I feel nothing, I just don't care. I keep my head down and keep reading my book as people fork over their hard earned money to this scam artist. When I look up she is right in from of me, and she looks at me and asks if I could spare some cash to get her home.
I look her straight in the eye and say, "Three weeks ago you almost got me to feel bad, but now that you are stranded in Boston again you are either an idiot or a scam artist," and I walk away. A few people start giggling, she doesn't know what to say, and one bold woman asks for her five dollars back!
Now, am I heartless or is it just living in the city?