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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Doritos, Luna bars, and a big old burrito


Today I pulled into the gas station and a bum walked up to my car. I started digging through my purse because instead of giving homeless people money, I prefer to give them snacks. (Yes, my Louis Vuitton is always stocked with snacks, you'd think I was either a mother of 4 toddlers or Mary Poppins.) So I started searching through my bag, and after fumbling around a bit I found a 100 calorie pack of Doritos. I was thinking, "If I was homeless I'd definitely want Doritos!" so I opened my door and handed them to the man, and expectantly waited for him to rip the bag open and begin eating the chips in slow motion with music playing in the background. Instead, he looked at me with complete disgust, as if I was handing him a bag of crap, said "I don't want those!", handed them back to me, and wandered away. I just stood there, wanting to yell to him, "Wow, you are going to pass up Doritos? I'm not even homeless and I wouldn't pass up free Doritos! I wanted them anyway, so that just works out perfectly sir!"

I'm growing tired of sharing my snacks with unappreciative homeless people. When I was in traffic last week waiting to merge on the freeway, a homeless guy was holding up a sign that said, "Anything will help." I didn't feel comfortable rolling down my window because he looked quite rough, so instead I tossed him a Luna Bar ("the whole nutrition bar for women") out of the sunroof of my car. He caught the bar and looked at it as if I had just thrown him an IV full of estrogen. Sure it might be a power bar specially made for a woman's needs, but it doesn't mean it wouldn't tide him over for a while. Hopefully he ended up eating it, because those Luna bars aren't cheap and they have plenty of vitamins and minerals he needs to get through the day.

Oh and it gets worse! About a month ago I was at Chipotle in Hollywood with my brother and as we were eating outside a homeless man asked if we could spare any change. I told him, "No, but I'll buy a burrito if you're hungry" and as soon as I said that, it was as if he pulled out a script and began reading off his order. This man knew the Chipotle menu better than the employees inside making burritos. He wanted a steak burrito, and started giving me special requests, including extra guacamole, grilled onions and hold the sour cream. I was a little startled that someone begging for change would be making such specific requests, but he did it like a pro. Then he said, "I'll be back in 10 minutes for my burrito." Well what do you know, 10 minutes later he wandered back over and I handed him the bag with the burrito in it. It was like a brown-bag drug deal was going down. He opened the bag, looked up at me and rudely said, "Where are the chips and salsa??" Looking back, I should have just hit him upside the head with the big old burrito and ran.

So I think I have a few valid reasons to be done trying to feed snacks to the homeless. The only hope I have of an appreciative homeless person comes from a lady I ran into a few weeks ago at 3rd Street Promenade. My friend was trying to sell some of her clothes to a Thrift store and there was this one skirt that the store didn't want (yes it was that bad!)- it was an extremely short, bright pink and black skirt. We walked past a homeless lady who asked for change and my friend said, 'No, but you can have this skirt." and handed it to her. The lady was thrilled, like we had just presented her with a beautiful new evening gown. And although the cops might take her for a prostitute, she will be the hippest bag lady in all of Santa Monica. I think if I were to run into her again on 3rd street wearing the skirt, I would happily host a feast at my apartment for her--and on the menu will be 100 calorie packs of Doritos, Luna bars, and a big old burrito made just to her liking. And yes, even chips and salsa.