Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Make me wanna holler, The way they do my life...

It's funny... A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a friend over AIM about homeless people. Now living in San Francisco, I've (sadly) encountered homeless people pretty much all of my life. I wouldn't say that I am completely accustomed to it, but seeing people living on the streets isn't a shock to me.  And if I have some dough to spare, I really don't mind helping others out.  However while I was going to college in the East Bay, when my friends (who weren't from SF) and I would kick it in the city, their reaction to homeless people were almost always the same: first they would start to feel afraid and panic, frantically looking for any possible route to avoid them, and after passing, comment on how 'dirty' they were or how 'scared' they felt (unless of course, it was the Bush Man). It really shocked me at first because I felt as if they're reactions were a bit over dramatic. But more importantly, I felt that it was unnecessary and uncalled for. These were real people who are down on their luck with no place to live; not wild animals that escaped from the zoo who are now out living in the streets trying to get a little money for their next meal. After talking with some of these folks, I found that at times, they were often embarrassed to be in this sort of predicament of asking for money in the first place. Just a month ago, I was stopped at a light off the freeway and gave a couple bucks to a guy at the off ramp. He thanked me and was briefly talking about how he and his wife were severely effected by the plummeting economy and forced to live out in the streets until times got better for them. But when he saw my daughter in the backseat, he immediately started to apologize, even wanting to give my money back. "Hey man, you have a family to take care of. I can't take this." Of course I didn't take the money back, but his reaction did catch me off guard.  But I digress...

Fast forward to a few days ago... I was at my homie's baby shower picnic when an old, homeless man wandered toward our party asking for food. Now two things struck me as being out of the ordinary: 1) The baby shower was not in Golden Gate Park or in San Francisco at all. We were in the middle of San Mateo at a very nice (and somewhat secluded) park at least a few miles away from the the downtown area; and 2) the old homeless man was Filipino. They offered him some food and he ate at one of the tables, almost blending in with the party. I sat there for a while, just watching him and I started to feel bad for him. By just looking at him, he could have been anyone's grandfather at the party. He didn't cause a scene, cause disruption or anything of the sort, but you can almost see it in his eyes how much he missed being in a family setting as he sat there observing the people around him and smiling to himself with the different things going on.

Now this may sound a bit strange, but if the person asking were Filipino, I would scrape extra hard to help them out. Call it what you want, but it hits a lot closer to home when I see my own people struggle in that sort of way, more so because I can imagine them being my own uncle, cousin, or what not.  I can only remember one other time that I've ever encountered a Filipino person asking for money on the streets (Aside from the Philippines, of course. That's just a whole other experience that really hit me that I might touch on at another time). 

It was about 2am and my wife and I were heading back to my car after a gig when I was approached by an older Filipino man. He approached me with the typical "Are you Filipino?" greeting, which I knew would be followed by him asking for something.  He came at me with a sob story about how he just got out of jail and had his wallet stolen. Then he started going on about how he was the owner of Lucky Chances and if I helped him, he would get me back and 'take care of me' whenever I came to LC. 

First of all, I knew he was bullshitting. No owner of a casino is walking around Van Ness at 2am in the morning with absolutely no one to call, wearing a pair of beat up Florsheim specials, a cheap wrist watch and some rusty looking hoop earrings. Despite the lies, I pulled out a dub, put it in his hand, looked him in the eyes (NH) and said, "Here you go, you already have the money. But I just want you to tell me the truth. You don't have to lie to me." I pressed him for minute trying to get the truth out of him, but he still kept to his story. I let him go, $20 dollar bill in hand, and got inside my car with mixed emotions. I felt good about helping out another Filipino man who needed it, but I felt disgusted that he would also use my same logic for helping him to lie to me, even after being assured that he can still keep the money if he came clean.

A few months later, I was having dinner at Lucky Chances and just to amuse myself, I asked one of the workers if the owner was there. The owner wasn't, but she described to me what he looked like: a completely opposite description from that of the guy I'd met that night downtown. Even though I knew he was lying, I still kinda held out on that slim possibility that he was telling me the truth...

Anyways, on to more happier things...

Big shout out to my dad; aka the source of my genes of which my gout is to blame; aka don't leave a bottle of Henny or Remy in the fridge cause he'll take it, hide it and drink it; aka I love to call everyone (including males) 'honey' (Pause); aka instead of watching my daughter graduate, I'll just drink beer at home and wait for them to come back; for turning the big six-oh this past weekend. The man doesn't look a day over fifty... but that's because he colors his hair.  Ooooowwwwww.....

Alright stop... Collaborate and listen...

  • What do you get when you take a pot of ABDC, throw in some Romeo Must Die, a dash of Matrix, and cup of Footloose? Boogie Town.
  • Anyone catch Barack on Leno the other night?  I got the opportunity to read his book, 'Dreams From My Father,' for my English class last semester while he was still running for president and from talking about and admitting to smoking weed, to his experience growing up a minority in America, to just seeming like an all around down to earth guy, I mean really, name another president that you really felt like you could relate to.
  • It's one thing to receive the fake warning about the gang initiations going on at Wal Mart. But why did I get an evite inviting me to the gang initiation???  It said, 'Bring a friend! Some kinda weapon would probably be good, too.' Ha!
  • Remember kiddies: Always eat your veggies kiddies!  They help you grow big, strong and keep you up for days on end.
  • Screw this whole nursing thing.  I'm going back to making videos and pursuing a job where I can use my art degree.
  • Been on the fence about getting an XBOX or PS3 for the new Street Fighter game.  But now that new DJ video game, 'Scratch,' is coming out, I might have to start saving up ends.
  • Speaking of DJing, if you didn't get a chance to catch me on Krazy Kids Radio a couple weeks ago, you can still download the episode here and ask yourself who the real King of New York is. 
  • And if you missed out on the past few weekends of booze and beats, or you were just too drunk to remember, you can relive the moments here and here.

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