December 17, 2008

The LXXXV¢ Man

I've been working for the past seven days, & I'm enjoying a bit of a Friday night this afternoon (after being called into work accidentally at 7am instead of 8am, to a venue an hour away.) Getting off the BART at the Ashby Station, there's a well-dressed beggar man asking for eighty-five cents--; he is very often there, & he always asks for exactly "85¢ to get on the BART". I came up with two theories, & then several more, why he asks for this precise sum:

1) He's been standing there ever since the minimum BART ride cost 85¢, & no one has clued him in that his scheme needs to be updated with the rising cost of the public transportation infrastructure & inflation. (I'll get my interns to get you the year when the BART last cost 85¢)

2) After years of experimenting with asking for different amounts, he's honed in on the most successful number.

3) His favorite cheap beer (or preferred homeless non-alcoholic beverage) costs 79
¢-plus-tax, & by the time he's finished his drink, he's managed to sucker another
85¢ from another sucker.

4) In a world of imprecision, he asks for a precise amount of change.

Any other ideas?
I've been recording two new shaped-note Christmas tunes, so check back later at this website for your holiday cheer. (Above photo (of me) by Nina Menconi.)

1 comment:

ß. Andrigon said...

Comment from Miss J. Beer:

"I saw a play being workshopped at a local (Portland) creperie a couple years ago that was about this very thing. A homeless guy asks each passerby for something like 87 cents -- and won't take any other amount (lesser or greater). The panhandler on the other corner gets into a philosophical argument with him about it. I don't remember being bowled ... Read Moreover by the arguments then, but find your suppositions quite satisfying. ... But then again, I might be unable to resist finding you interesting, what with how sexy you are in your new glasses. Even without ever seeing you in them."