Sunday, January 23, 2011

Please Don’t Feed the Bagmen

He had the universal sign of all transients: A plastic bag turned inside out and stuffed to breaking. I sat across from him on the subway and watched as he rummaged around, carefully taking out a bit of sandwich, surveying its contents and then wrapping it up and replacing it in his bag. I was drawn to him and his Deputy Dog jowls. So before I got out of the car at Lansdowne, I placed my package of licorice on top of his bag. He looked up, disgusted, “Hey Lady, I don’t want this!” and threw it back at me.

Like those experts on Antiques Roadshow who can tell a 1902 Stieff bear from a fake, seasoned TTC riders can spot a crazy a mile away. The Smellies and Lone Talkers are obvious, but it’s the ones who look normal until you sit next to them and then start telling you about melting skeletons that present the challenge. There’s a simple rule of thumb that always works for me. It’s not their hair nor clothes. It’s their shoes. Worn heels and salt stains are a dead giveaway. And for Heaven’s Sake don’t sit next to any adult with Velcro ties.

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