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Two conversations

Two conversations: one on the business of panhandling and one on why “Kate” is now an unforgettable name.

Street economics

I almost always toss something in at least one panhandler’s hat — the legit panners, not the twinkies (the bored kids who live with Mom and Dad doing it as a hobby) — every day. It’s a little personal policy of mine that came about partially because my being a busker makes me sympathetic to that kind of thing, partially out of inspiration by The Five Rituals of Wealth, but mostly because in some situations, I’m a real bleeding heart. I’m sure the Floating Head of Ayn Rand has put me on her shit list.

I know Z. the panhandler from playing outside Amato’s Pizza on the weekends. He and his girlfriend X., who got kicked out of her parents’ home in Winnipeg for being a little too gothy for their tastes, hand out in the doorway beside the pizzeria. I usually give them a cut of my busking money because I don’t really need it (most of the time, anyway).

This evening, I dropped a toonie in Z.’s hat on the way out of the Bovine Sex Club, and we started talking.

Z.: Quiet night tonight. Fucking rain.

Me: It wasn’t even full-on rain. It was a shower at most. It only takes a little water to make people stay at home.

Z.: Didn’t make very much tonight.

Me: You should try Queen and John around noon. Lots of people from all the bank buildings pass by there for lunch. I’ll bet 4,000 walk on John Street at noon, and if only one in twenty give you a buck, that’s still 200 bucks.

Z.: Yeah, they make like what, fifteen, twenty, maybe twenty-five bucks an hour, right? A buck should be nothin’ to them!

I get the feeling that a lot of the bankers and lawyers in the Scotiabank Plaza are making more than twenty-five an hour, but I didn’t have the heart to point that out.


Now the world’s most unforgettable name

I needed some practice for today’s MuchMusic gig, so I spent some time after last call playing the accordion outside Amato’s Pizza. One of the people who worked there asked me to drop by on Saturday night and play some requests for her closing shift. Her name is Kate, and I will never forget anyone named that because of a story I read yesterday on Maggie “Mighty Girl” Berry’s blog:

On meeting a girl who I can’t believe is still single:

Me: Hi, I don’t think we’ve met yet. I’m Maggie.

Her: Hi, I’m Kate.

(Conversation ensues.)

Kate: I’m sorry, what was your name again? I’m horrible with names.

Me: No problem, it’s Maggie. I don’t remember yours either.

Kate: Here, I’ll do the little Kate dance to help cement it.

(Throws hands in hair, shakes bum and turns in little circles while chanting, “Kate! Kate! Kate!)

Me: I will never, ever forget that again.

This “Kate” sounds like my kind of girl.

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