Because I am interested in conspiracy theories, whenever something goes awry I am convinced there is conniving treachery behind it. And because I can sometimes be naive, I give everyone the benefit of the doubt until they prove me otherwise.
Having a dog means that I spend more time walking aimlessly around New York City with no destination than someone who does not own a dog. Walking without direction and with a dog makes you an open target for random conversation with friendly strangers. Sometimes this can be great, these "microwave-relationships" allow me to meet some bizarre individuals that serve as a nice break from the banality that is dog-walking.
Some of my more interesting dog-walking experiences involved a Mexican standoff between my dog and Larry David, a run in with Tom Cruise and Suri, finding out one of my neighbors is a trapeze instructor and of course getting hit on by a variety of men and women who have used some very original pick up lines/techniques that would fill up an entirely different post. I also had the opportunity last March to meet Homeless Man Tom who, up until last night's encounter, changed my view of the homeless in New York City.
Basically, I am now convinced that the homeless men in the vicinity of my apartment are acting in collusion to use me as the primary benefactor to fund the Homeless Man Consortium.
If you read my earlier post about Homeless Man Tom you would know that he is one of those homeless men that have hysterical signs. I was at first skeptical because I thought if he is creative enough to make such clever signs, is he really homeless?? But after learning his story (he's a Veteran and can't get a job, tries to make $20 a day to stay at a place he found because the conditions are better than at the Bowery Mission) and that he makes funny signs because it keeps him going on with life by taking his mind off of the struggles that he deals with daily (without his signs - he would just give up) my heart melted. I found myself truly caring about this man and I began to give him whatever singles I had on me whenever I passed him. As time went on and after a myriad of conversations HMT and I formed a sort of friendship, a friendship that involved him learning my dog's name and petting him from time to time and helping me parallel park my car by guiding me into a spot.
My dog-walking experiences morphed from a chore that I rushed through because it was one of the less exciting parts of my adult life to something meaningful, something so meaningful that it snapped me out of my own head, my head filled with rudimentary thoughts, and I became aware of those around me. Instead of assuming every homeless man (or woman) I saw was a crack head or unworthy of attention or just going to use my dollars for booze, I conjured up all sorts of reasons for why they were living on the street, filthy, asking for a dollar and somehow still maintaining a belief in God.
Recently however, I noticed that I was not only giving my dollars to HMT and to the random homeless man who's path I crossed, but that there were at least three new men living on my street that were now recipients. There's Old Crazy Hat Man who's name I don't know because he has no teeth and mumbles, Jack Daniels who sits on a crate and cradles an empty bottle of Jack, and most recently there is a man that resides on 3rd avenue that I haven't had the opportunity to converse with yet. None of this seemed strange to me until I saw HMT last night.
He had a new sign that said something about him being a Funky Monkey and when he saw me staring he waved and then hollered to my dog, by name, who of course responded to his beckoning jubilantly because HMT smells like a combination of old food and poop. I went over and realized that it had been some time since I last saw him. A very long time in fact. He asked my dog to sit and then to lay down and then proceeded to pet him. And that's when I noticed he was wearing a watch! If you don't have a home, I would think you would also not possess a watch. He asked my dog to give him kisses, which he thankfully did not obey. I awkwardly made the excuse that my dog doesn't like to kiss people he doesn't know. HMT said, nah its cool I will get him to, I used to be a dog trainer. Now please correct if I am wrong - but I never heard of someone needing to be a dog trainer while they were fighting in wars. This man duped me. He saw me coming from a mile away and took advantage of my donations.
I now believe the new homeless men that have relocated near my apartment are there because they just want MY money. Obviously it's all about me. I am the center of a conspiracy! I am, if not the sole contributor, than the primary benefactor of The Homeless Man Consortium. It's a theory, but so is gravity...until I'm proved otherwise it'll just be left that I'm lucky I'm pretty. How else could I get away with this?