If you know me. If you know me well. You would know that one of the causes that is near to my heart is homelessness.
By taking care of our homeless and hungry, we take care of the elderly, gays, veterans, drug addicts, the mentally ill and intellectually challenged. We would take care of teens, women and minorities. Most of all, we would take care of our poor, which is a lot of people.
But, there’s a scary trend out there. One that I thought had long died in my college days. The trend of rich kids posing as homeless people. I know, I know, this may be a little hard to believe, but I witnessed it in the great city of Coral Gables this weekend.
Coral Gables, much like Miami Beach and South Miami, are known for its homeless, which makes it a great spot for an impostor to hang out.
There we were, reconnecting with friends, when the impostor drove up on her bike. Before I was able to reach for my purse to offer money, I noticed her. I mean, I took a real good look. Under the dirty finger nails and soot-soaked hair and face, I looked at her unlaundered clothes and her mangled shoes and her super expensive bike…
That’s a really expensive bike, I thought. It was shiny and new. And brand name. How could she afford it?
So I looked at her face again and I recognized her. I didn’t know her from the streets. I knew her from college. From my days as a chain-smoking, horn-dog, when all I did was repeat all of the big words I learned in class. It was the seven-semester senior, who was not only old enough to drink, but was old enough to be a Freshman’s mother. It was her — in the dirty flesh.
She was still pretending to be a drifter, a bohemian, a panhandler. Still, after all these years.
It was awkward, to say the least. But what it did was piss me off. How could she go around pretending to be a mendicant? Her! A wealthy daughter of the revolution!
I tried to call her out on it by using passive aggressive sarcasm, only she responded with:
“Oh, Mari, your facetiousness, although it may fall viscerally on your friends, the lucidity of your facetiousness does fall upon my dirty finger nails and unbrushed teeth.”
Maybe not the last part. But, still, a very convincing speech for someone pretending to be a poor, unfortunate soul.