Sunday, January 21, 2007

Urban Observations

I hope that no one misconstrues what I am about to say, thinking that I am making some sort of value-judgment on the phenomenon itself.
It is merely an unanswered question that has come to me today, and so I share it with you.

I am an urbanite.
I LIVE in the downtown core of a city of approximately a million inhabitants.
As such, I encounter a fair number of what has come to be known as “street-people.”
Perhaps another phrase would be “homeless” people. Whatever the proper descriptive name for them may be, I am referring specifically today to the sector of this social grouping that are the ones that ask you for money.
I pass them every day, in my pedestrian travels.
Like today.
I spent the afternoon downtown drinking coffee all over the place, and reading Margaret Atwood. When I left Starbucks and made my way home, I was repeatedly asked to part ways with any money I may have had in my pocket.
It is incredible the amount of times I am asked for my money, on the way home.
[Remember, I am not making a judgment upon the gross amount of need out there, I am merely recounting an observation of reality]…. I mean, one guy asked me for money, and literally, I could see, not even fifty feet yonder, the next guy gearing up to ask me the same question.
Where am I? In Calcutta?
Walking the streets of my city is beginning to be like crossing a never ending toll bridge!
But today, for the first time a question hit me.
After I had said, “Sorry pal” to about the fifth “pal”.... I asked myself:

Honestly, I had never noticed this before!
And I am a well-travelled, experienced urbanite.
Why is it always men asking for money?
In all seriousness, I would estimate that for every 100 people that ask me for money on the street, upwards of 95 of them will be men.

It’s just an observation I have acknowledged.
I have no answer to the question.

To see a former blog of mine on the phenomenon of urban begging, click → HERE.


Imani said...

That's true I rarely ever see homeless women begging on the street. I live in a college town so much smaller numbers but all of them are men.

cipriano said...

Yes, Imani.
I am not kidding about my percentage ratio there.
In fact, it is probably higher. There is one dear old girl that asks me for money all the time, but seriously, other than her..... the men are holding out for the handouts!

patricia said...

You know, you're right, Cip. If I think long and hard about it, in my travels in the city of Toronto, I hardly ever see a woman begging for change.

Isabella said...

Maybe it's because women have something to trade?

cipriano said...

Actually, I think that there are no women on the street begging because they are probably at home, making pancakes for their menfolk, for breakfast... and stuff.
They are busy doing woman-stuff like that!
Or ironing.

Oh my God.... which one of you are now going to take a shotgun and shoot me?