Thursday, November 26, 2009

Getting mugged, for my time.

I was in the city bright and early this morning and hadn't yet fulfilled my coffee quota so i decided to go and visit my favourite caffeine hole, Tiger Tiger. Pretty fucking exciting huh? Tiger Tiger was awesome when it first opened because instead of trying to bring some new and obvious gimmicks (gay or extremely camp baristas unaware of the concept of shutting the hell up) and design elements (art deco rape couches) to Perth's thriving coffee industry, they made good coffee and served you when you walked to the counter. Who would have thought such a crazy concept would work? Customer walks in, you greet customer with no bullshit and you make me a coffee that tastes good and is worth the ridiculously inflated price i pay for it. Take note Claremont.
It had been a while since my last visit to Tiger Tiger and i was immediately taken back by how much the little alleyway cafe had changed. Big brown picnic tables had infiltrated the once spacious passage and pushed out the little chairs and tables of yonder, businessmen and art fanatics alike appeared to be co-existing under the same shade and there was a line to the counter as long as my patience, which was surprisingly long on this particular morning. Way to grow Perth. Where was I? Melbourne?

"That'll be $4.00 thanks".

Nope, not Melbourne. But "Not Perth" either, as the funky chalk board proclaimed at the entrance to the alleyway. Shame too, declaring that an establishment in Perth is 'Not Perth' in an act of rebellion against Perth is probably the most Perth thing you can do, aside from inciting intercourse with a swan atop Kings Park. I was actually meant to start this post off with "I got a coffee at Tiger Tiger this morning and it was great" but then all this stuff started pissing me off. Something important did actually happen to me today, it's importance owed to the fact that the exact thing happened to me a couple of months ago.

I was getting Lunch in Mt. Lawley and making my way back up Beaufort Street, which by the way, is the most tedious task you could ever imagine. If it was acceptable, i'd eat my Antonio's roll inside Antonio's. Maybe they should put some fuck off picnic tables all through their walkway and see what happens. As i made the crucial cross from the scotsman side to the planet side, this dude meets me halfway at the island. He was kind of scraggly looking, but not scraggly enough to be homeless. As cars speed past us and i try and find a gap as soon as possible to avoid any possible interaction with this guy who is obviously going to ask me for some money or a job, the following exchange takes place.

Sketchy dude: Hey, scuse' me brother! You wouldn't be able to help me would you?

Me: (fuck).

Sketchy dude: Me and me missus are on our way back to Geraldton and the car's broken down just around the corner. I've been walking up and down this street for an hour an a half, me daughter's got a broken leg and me wife's looking after our two kids in the car. All i wanna do is get back to Geraldton with me family and i was wondering if you could help us out with ten or fifteen bucks for some petrol?

Me: Sorry man, i just spent my last (not even) few dollars on this (amazing, tasty, expensive) roll from the deli down the road.

*I reach into my pocket, my fingers expertly dodging the copious amounts of $50 notes and gold coins and going straight for the silver coins, a skill i've mastered since i started working on Beaufort Street. It's actually gotten to the point where my fingers can sense the colour, value and international exchange rate of a coin*.

Me: Here mate, it's only small change but i'm sure it'll help.

He then took the money and didn't say one fucking word to me. No thankyou, no grunts, no sequel sob story to try and convince me to donate more, just a surly look and a turn around. I'd just given this guy free money for nothing. Aside from his audacity to ask for such a ludicrous donation and despite the various plot-holes in his story (is your car broken down or out of petrol? Do you have a daughter with a broken leg or two kids?) i dug deep and donated to what i knew was an illegitimate cause. I was mugged for my time and i had to wash my expensive roll down with a now warm Dr. Pepper. Whatever though, i'm a nice guy and i've since forgiven homie for his lack of manners and ignorance of road rules.

Forgiven, until yesterday that is. I'd just been to Coles and had once again wisely invested my money in an olive encrusted ciabatta roll featuring prosciutto, jarlsberg and fresh salad executive produced by me. I was making my way back to work when in the distance i notice someone that doesn't quite fit in to the evolution of fashion currently occurring in Claremont's central hub. This guy had just finished talking to one person when he immediately started talking to a young couple behind them. The couple then hand him what looks to be Australian currency. This guy is either extremely popular or homeless. He then continues his journey, which happens to detour past my exact line of sight and the direction in which i'm walking. "please don't see me, please don't see me, in the name of the father, son and the holy spirit jesus christ mighty lord above please don't let him see me".

Sketchy dude: Hey, scuse' me brother! You wouldn't be able to help me would you?

Me: (FUCK! It's him!)

Sketchy dude: Me and me missus are on our way back to Geraldton and the car's broken down just around the corner. I've been walking up and down this street for an hour an a half, me daughter's got a broken leg and me wife's looking after our two kids in the car. All i wanna do is get back to Geraldton with me family and i was wondering if you could help us out with ten or fifteen bucks for some petrol?

It was the same guy, telling the same story, in Claremont. I couldn't believe what i was seeing. It had been a good few months since i last saw this guy and he was still stuck in the exact same situation with the exact same amount of daughters and the same problem with his car. Only he'd somehow managed to make it all the way into Claremont to plead his case. I wanted to tell him to keep walking because at this pace he'd be in Geraldton by Christmas but i've heard these characters aren't big on the whole concept of hygiene and one punch could land me five minutes in germ town county prison, scrubbing my hands as punishment.

I awkwardly fumbled around my pocket, gave him a New Zealand dollar and fled the scene so quickly that i didn't even realize how much i'd technically given him and how much i hated myself for not taking the opportunity to expose him. I shook it off and continued forth to my destination, knowing that i'd been rolled for my money and time once again by this enigmatic, petrol-huffing genius. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, i fucking hate your guts and the guts of anyone you care about.

My lunch tasted all the more luxurious when i remembered how that New Zealand dollar will be the only thing between him and his next cask of wine and maybe, just maybe when he tries to assault the Liqourland attendant for not accepting it, the resulting police intervention will see him back in East Perth lock up and significantly closer to his wife, one or two daughters and that imaginary broken down Commodore on Walcott Street.

I'm a great guy.

4 comments:

Bebe John Burgess said...

Dude, the guy is notorious. He has asked all of my housemates and me on seperate occasions, using the same story, on Beaufort Street. One time a lady came TO OUR FRONT DOOR asking for money using that story, so maybe he isn't lying about a wife but he sure is about everything else.

Gracey

Jimmy Hats said...

Elizabeth street, Victoria.
Same stunt, pulled by a sheila.
I thought she was just a smackie, turns out she likes the pokies too much.

"Like, my car is in the emergency lane of the freeway near the hospital, and they're gonna tow my car with my baby and I can't afford anything at all so spare some change aye Sir?"

"...Seeya"

Gotta just say no sometimes dude.

Me said...

Trust me, i want to give them money as much as they want to spend it on getting their kids back to Geraldton.

It's like a service. If i give them some change, they move on quicker and i don't have to feel awkward when they give me the world vision look and ask me what i'm good for.

timothyrollin said...

yeah, seen a dude on william st near the moon asking for cash for a jerry can a bunch o times. A classic grift