These are the general approaches people take whether they’re walking on the street or on public transit:
- Give them some spare change.
- Tell them you don’t have any money (whether or not it’s true).
- Ignore them.
- Tell them to get a job.
I never say #4 because you really never know why people are asking for money. I’ll usually do a range of 1 or 2. But sometimes when I’m not feeling particularly nice or just don’t want to be bothered after a long day of work, I pick #3 – Ignore them. Not the nicest thing in the world, but when you have your earphones on and you’re reading on your iPhone Kindle, it’s your most natural option without anyone disturbing your space.
So that was the scenario today – Earphones on + Reading my iPhone Kindle = Ignore.
Unfortunately the guy didn’t take a hint and just stood there. So I looked up and said, “Sorry, sir, I don’t have any money.”
Instead of going away or thanking me for my time like most people do, this guy proceeds to say, “It’s okay.” And then TOUCHES MY HAIR.
<RANT> What is up with that?! Who does that? I am not a pet. Is this karma for the times when my friends say something quaint and I pet their heads? At least I know them!</RANT>
In any case, I literally had to step back when he did that and then he went away. I’ve had some weird transit moments, but that one might have been the oddest panhandling one by sheer act of touching my hair.