Street people smell me coming from blocks away — even before I’m able to smell them. They swoop down on me like hawks on field mice, relentless and ruthless, honing in on weakness.
Missionaries and evangelists single me out of the crowd with ease, delighted to tell me I’m going to hell. They’re always rather taken aback when I shrug and say, “I know.”
Political activists quickly cull me from the pack if there’s a petition to be signed or a survey to be taken.
We won’t go into what happens whenever there’s a call for volunteers.
And once, when I was an exhausted young mother trudging thru the grocery store late in the evening, a tarted up Mary Kay rep pressed her business card into my hand and said, “Call me. I can help.”
So it doesn’t surprise me when the kid working the street corner turns his attention my way. What surprises me is his sign: HOW’S YOUR KARMA?
I’m used to veiled threats from chain letters and pass-this-on-or-else media postings and cancer insurance brochures and WatchTower pamphlets. And street people by definition pose a threat, since their rules are not ours. But this is a novel approach. The kid is clever.
He has the face of a cherub — hasn’t been living the life too long. He gets a little too close, thrusts his sign at me, and says, “How are you today, Ma’am?”
“Living my karma,” I reply. “Shouldn’t you worry about your own more than mine?”
He laughs and says, “We’re all one, Miss. We’re all one.”
He has a point. I give him the dollar I have in my back pocket.
Later, I realize it was a $20. Karma is a bitch.