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SOCOM

Little annoyances

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Something has just rocketed up my list of the little things Hartford needs to change. Yesterday, while walking to JoJo's for the UP meeting, I ran into a guy askin for some $$$ on the corner of Pratt & Trumbull. Mind you, it was 6pm and there were plenty of people out and about. He made up some story that his girlfriend ditched him in the city and he lives in Plainville...blah blah blah...he needs 10 or 20 dollars to get home. I brushed off this guy as I do with most anyone who randomly asks me for money on the street. Nonetheless, it bothers me, and I can only imagine what it must feel like for a single woman or a visitor from out of town to experience. For some people it can be very intimidating for a strange man to walk right up to you and almost demand money.

So now you're thinking...this happens in every city, no big deal. But check this out...after the UP meeting at about 7:45pm, drc and I were walking back down Pratt street towards Trumbull. On the very same corner that I was hassled for money just 2 hours prior, a different, much more obvious drunk guy came up to drc and I asking for money. (or so we assumed, we could barely understand what the hell he was saying!) I was already in a rush, so I decided I'd just give this guy some loose change or a dollar at most to get him off our backs. Unfortunately, I reached into my pocket and the only thing I had was 5's, 10's and 20's. So once he saw the $5 bill I figured better to lose $5 than to have him pull a gun or something. I hate giving in to these panhandler/hobo type clowns, but I was totally caught off guard. I wish I could say this was also an isolated incident...but it doesn't seem like it was...

When I was in Hartford 2 or 3 months ago taking pictures, I was approached by a guy and girl together(on Church street right by the Metro Center) who claimed to be from NYC and their friends ditched them in Hartford (again with the ditched story). They just asked for anything...5 cents, a dollar, whatever I could give. For some reason I actually felt like these people were genuine, mainly because they were well dressed, well spoken, and on top of that, very nice. So I gave them $10 and didn't feel too bad about it. But let's be honest, in all likelihood they probably played the game perfectly.

And finally, about a year ago I was downtown with a couple friends at The Russel. (ring any bells...corner of Trumbull and Pratt, lol) Now we're sitting down eating dinner and this weird guy in a cowboy hat comes right up to our table and introduces himself and starts talking about how he misses his wife in California and that he's trying to get a book publised...blah blah blah. He's piss drunk, his speech is completely slurred. So fine, after a minute or two he walks away and we figure that's the end of that. A coupel minutes later, he comes back, while we're eating, and starts asking us what we ordered and what we do for a living..then he leaves again and goes outside for a smoke. At this point I tell my friends I've had enough of this clown bothering us...if he comes back I'm standing up, getting right in his face and teling him off. My friends tell me that's a bad idea because who knows what could happen, and they weren't ready for a fight. To make a long story short, he did end up coming back to our table one more time and bothering us, then he walked off somewhere and passed out in a dumpster somewhere I presume.

So here's the big problem I see. I've been downtown about 6 times in the last year. 4 out of those 6 times I've been approached by strange people either asking for money or just so piss drunk they didn't even know what they were doing. I view this as a minor problem right now, but it has the potential to really scare off potential residents as well as out of towners visiting the city. Again, think about single women in the city...not trying ot be sexist here, but they feel very intimidated by strange men appraoching them demanding things. I don't know how we can solve this problem, whether the Mayor needs to get involved or what, but I think we absolutely need to stop this before it becomes something big. The worst part is, this is all happening right downtown in daylight - where it's busy!

The funny thing is I do see a silver lining with the emergence of these types of people. It shows me that Hartford really is getting more feet on the street, because these people wouldn't be working the streets in a dead city.

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Something has just rocketed up my list of the little things Hartford needs to change. Yesterday, while walking to JoJo's for the UP meeting, I ran into a guy askin for some $$$ on the corner of Pratt & Trumbull. Mind you, it was 6pm and there were plenty of people out and about. He made up some story that his girlfriend ditched him in the city and he lives in Plainville...blah blah blah...he needs 10 or 20 dollars to get home. I brushed off this guy as I do with most anyone who randomly asks me for money on the street. Nonetheless, it bothers me, and I can only imagine what it must feel like for a single woman or a visitor from out of town to experience. For some people it can be very intimidating for a strange man to walk right up to you and almost demand money.

So now you're thinking...this happens in every city, no big deal. But check this out...after the UP meeting at about 7:45pm, drc and I were walking back down Pratt street towards Trumbull. On the very same corner that I was hassled for money just 2 hours prior, a different, much more obvious drunk guy came up to drc and I asking for money. (or so we assumed, we could barely understand what the hell he was saying!) I was already in a rush, so I decided I'd just give this guy some loose change or a dollar at most to get him off our backs. Unfortunately, I reached into my pocket and the only thing I had was 5's, 10's and 20's. So once he saw the $5 bill I figured better to lose $5 than to have him pull a gun or something. I hate giving in to these panhandler/hobo type clowns, but I was totally caught off guard. I wish I could say this was also an isolated incident...but it doesn't seem like it was...

When I was in Hartford 2 or 3 months ago taking pictures, I was approached by a guy and girl together(on Church street right by the Metro Center) who claimed to be from NYC and their friends ditched them in Hartford (again with the ditched story). They just asked for anything...5 cents, a dollar, whatever I could give. For some reason I actually felt like these people were genuine, mainly because they were well dressed, well spoken, and on top of that, very nice. So I gave them $10 and didn't feel too bad about it. But let's be honest, in all likelihood they probably played the game perfectly.

And finally, about a year ago I was downtown with a couple friends at The Russel. (ring any bells...corner of Trumbull and Pratt, lol) Now we're sitting down eating dinner and this weird guy in a cowboy hat comes right up to our table and introduces himself and starts talking about how he misses his wife in California and that he's trying to get a book publised...blah blah blah. He's piss drunk, his speech is completely slurred. So fine, after a minute or two he walks away and we figure that's the end of that. A coupel minutes later, he comes back, while we're eating, and starts asking us what we ordered and what we do for a living..then he leaves again and goes outside for a smoke. At this point I tell my friends I've had enough of this clown bothering us...if he comes back I'm standing up, getting right in his face and teling him off. My friends tell me that's a bad idea because who knows what could happen, and they weren't ready for a fight. To make a long story short, he did end up coming back to our table one more time and bothering us, then he walked off somewhere and passed out in a dumpster somewhere I presume.

So here's the big problem I see. I've been downtown about 6 times in the last year. 4 out of those 6 times I've been approached by strange people either asking for money or just so piss drunk they didn't even know what they were doing. I view this as a minor problem right now, but it has the potential to really scare off potential residents as well as out of towners visiting the city. Again, think about single women in the city...not trying ot be sexist here, but they feel very intimidated by strange men appraoching them demanding things. I don't know how we can solve this problem, whether the Mayor needs to get involved or what, but I think we absolutely need to stop this before it becomes something big. The worst part is, this is all happening right downtown in daylight - where it's busy!

The funny thing is I do see a silver lining with the emergence of these types of people. It shows me that Hartford really is getting more feet on the street because these people wouldn't be working the streets in a dead city.

Same thing happened to me a few weeks ago while I was out writing down contact info for retail spots downtown. I gave the guy some change. I don't think I'd ever give any dollars, these people more than likely will not do anything, especially when there are plenty of people around. There is usaully nothing to be feared if you just tell these people to get lost. I'm not saying do that everytime obviously you should use your own discretion and like you said these people are found in every city and with increased population Downtown we could very well see more like them. I really hate the idea of just locking people up because they are down on their luck so I'm not sure what I think should be done about this yet.

On an aside, I've always heard that there are rich people that panhandle all over the place pretending to be broke just for the thrill of getting free money. Anyone else ever heard of this phenomenon?

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I really hate the idea of just locking people up because they are down on their luck so I'm not sure what I think should be done about this yet.

Me too. Even though they are incredibly annoying, we shouldn't throw these people in jail. Our jails our overcrowded as it is. That would be going way too far IMO.

There is usaully nothing to be feared if you just tell these people to get lost. I'm not saying do that everytime obviously you should use your own discretion and like you said these people are found in every city and with increased population Downtown we could very well see more like them.

Yeah, I'm not scared just very annoyed. When I'm on my own, I never give to these people (other than that well dressed couple I told you about in my earlier post). In fact, I usually do tell them off right to their face. Or argue with them about the fact that they are going to use the $$$ for drugs or alcohol. I'm one of those people that will stand up and fight if I have to retain my dignity and fight for what I believe is mine - the right to walk around without being hassled. Sometimes I'm scared what could happen because I am so ready to fight off one of these guys if I had to (I'm more scared of hurting them than them hurting me). Even though I'm not a big guy, I've never been one to back down from a confrontation.

I'm lost for ideas to solve this growing problem.

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This is completely unrelated to what I was talking about earlier, but one other thing I noticed while taking a quick drive around the city yesterday afternoon were the blue planters being used on Jewell streets and Trumbull streets. Has anyone else noticed them? They're bright blue PLASTIC cylindrical planters that say "Hartford, New England's rising star" on them. To me they are so incredibly tacky! I like the idea of planters in the center medians, but my God do they have to be so ugly?

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Panhandling is illegal in downtown Hartford. Call police if you are being bothered.

I once gave a panhandler a bus ticket to West Hartford. I told him the folks in the center have a lot more money than we do, and tend to have more sympathy for the homeless!

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On an aside, I've always heard that there are rich people that panhandle all over the place pretending to be broke just for the thrill of getting free money. Anyone else ever heard of this phenomenon?

Actually a few years ago when I was living in Boston, a local new station (forget which one) did a story on this very subject. They followed some woman from T stop to T stop, at the end of the day she got into a shiny luxury car (jaguar I think) and drove to her posh mcmansion in the burbs.

Back then I was living in Davis Sq in Somerville. Every morning I'd see the same exact pan handlers at the Davis Sq T stop, only to see them at lunchtime at Downtown crossing or South Station. On the weekends, same people would be at Harvard Sq. It's just the dynamics of any city. Just brush them off and don't give it any other thought. You want to do some good, donate to shelters and organizations who help people in need, not the pan handlers.

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Me too. Even though they are incredibly annoying, we shouldn't throw these people in jail. Our jails our overcrowded as it is. That would be going way too far IMO.

Yeah, I'm not scared just very annoyed. When I'm on my own, I never give to these people (other than that well dressed couple I told you about in my earlier post). In fact, I usually do tell them off right to their face. Or argue with them about the fact that they are going to use the $$$ for drugs or alcohol. I'm one of those people that will stand up and fight if I have to retain my dignity and fight for what I believe is mine - the right to walk around without being hassled. Sometimes I'm scared what could happen because I am so ready to fight off one of these guys if I had to. Even though I'm not a big guy, I've never been one to back down from a confrontation.

I'm lost for ideas to solve this growing problem.

What are you doing giving anyone money on the street? That perpetuates a problem. It's like feeding wild animals. Those people have more resources for food and shelter than you can imagine. Panhandling only supports drug addiction and alcoholism. I would imagine you are not the only one giving out $$. That's what attracts people to certain areas and downtowns of any cities are magnets. Nobody is going to bother you in broad daylight.

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What are you doing giving anyone money on the street? That perpetuates a problem. It's like feeding wild animals. Those people have more resources for food and shelter than you can imagine. Panhandling only supports drug addiction and alcoholism. I would imagine you are not the only one giving out $$. That's what attracts people to certain areas and downtowns of any cities are magnets. Nobody is going to bother you in broad daylight.

Apparently you didn't even read my very post that you quoted.

"When I'm on my own, I never give to these people (other than that well dressed couple I told you about in my earlier post). In fact, I usually do tell them off right to their face. Or argue with them about the fact that they are going to use the $$$ for drugs or alcohol. I'm one of those people that will stand up and fight if I have to retain my dignity and fight for what I believe is mine - the right to walk around without being hassled."

You are right about one thing though - I never should have given money to that drunk last night. Bad judgement on my part.

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Apparently you didn't even read my very post that you quoted.

"When I'm on my own, I never give to these people (other than that well dressed couple I told you about in my earlier post). In fact, I usually do tell them off right to their face. Or argue with them about the fact that they are going to use the $$$ for drugs or alcohol. I'm one of those people that will stand up and fight if I have to retain my dignity and fight for what I believe is mine - the right to walk around without being hassled."

You are right about one thing though - I never should have given money to that drunk last night. Bad judgement on my part.

You shouldn't give to them ever. Don't ever do it. I don't even give people a cigarette. In 2003, I gave a cigarette to some guy and was mugged in downtown Providence after leaving a bar to go pull my car up and pick up my friend at the door. As soon as I pulled out my box, 2 others were waiting in the darkness of the alley. The stabbed me and sliced me up to get a pack of cigarettes and the $ 3 I actually had on me. Since then, I don't give anything to anybody. Period! Fvk that! I work too hard for my money. These people are not going to go out of their way to rough you up unless you have a dangling purse or you pull out valuables( wallet, jewelry, etc) and make it easier for them. Don't let it distract you....just be a little street-smarter next time.

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Well SOCOM, you are obviously an easy target. Not like us black hearted cynical urban dwellers. Just kidding. It is unfortunately part of many cities landscape that people have to deal with. But if the city itself is attractive enough, people will still frequent it.

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You shouldn't give to them ever. Don't ever do it. I don't even give people a cigarette. In 2003, I gave a cigarette to some guy and was mugged in downtown Providence after leaving a bar to go pull my car up and pick up my friend at the door. As soon as I pulled out my box, 2 others were waiting in the darkness of the alley. The stabbed me and sliced me up to get a pack of cigarettes and the $ 3 I actually had on me. Since then, I don't give anything to anybody. Period! Fvk that! I work too hard for my money. These people are not going to go out of their way to rough you up unless you have a dangling purse or you pull out valuables( wallet, jewelry, etc) and make it easier for them. Don't let it distract you....just be a little street-smarter next time.

Sorry to hear about that Jerry. That's some messed up ish. I agree with you. Don't give the people begging on the street anything. I live in the North End so I get drug users asking me if I have product or some money all of the time. I just say "Man, I don't got anything for you." and leave it at that.

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Sorry to hear about that Jerry. That's some messed up ish. I agree with you. Don't give the people begging on the street anything. I live in the North End so I get drug users asking me if I have product or some money all of the time. I just say "Man, I don't got anything for you." and leave it at that.

I totally ignore all of them. Socom, I wouldn't let them distract you from going downtown. Unfortunately, I also don't think that there is anything you can do about in terms of complaining, but you could be part of the solution and not the problem. I live on the border with downtown PVD and I'm accosted all the time by panhandlers, crackheads, prostitutes ( male and female) and the like. It's still not going to stop me from walking about, but I sure won't do anything like that again.

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One night I was sitting outside at The Russell with some friends and some drunk guy asked me for money. I told him no, so he asked for my drink. I told him to get away, and he became enraged and smashed my table with his fists, spilling everything. Panhandling is a huge problem downtown. Its like they all read from the same "how-to" manual:

"I just ran out of gas on the highway and I need a few bucks for gas..."

"I'm trying to get to Springfield and I need a few bucks for a bus ticket..."

I've been approached by the same people on different days with different sob stories. There used to be one woman who had her two kids with her and used to ask for money to feed her children. I saw her every week or so for about a year downtown. It sucks because you can't walk a couple blocks without some approaching you and saying:

"Excuse me sir, I'm not a bum or anything...but I can I ask you a question?""

I always give them an abrupt "NO" when they approach me. They always say "God Bless you" or something similar and usually leave me alone. I always used to offer to buy them something to eat, but I was never once taken up on the offer. They would always say "just give me the cash, and I'll go get it." One guy told me food was cheaper in "the hood" than downtown, so if I just gave him money, he could get more for his money in his neighborhood. All they want is cash for cheap booze or crack.

In my opinion, the biggest little annoyance downtown is car break-ins. It happens every weekend all over downtown. It is a small annoyance, but I don't think anything hurts business more.

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One night I was sitting outside at The Russell with some friends and some drunk guy asked me for money. I told him no, so he asked for my drink. I told him to get away, and he became enraged and smashed my table with his fists, spilling everything. Panhandling is a huge problem downtown. Its like they all read from the same "how-to" manual:

"I just ran out of gas on the highway and I need a few bucks for gas..."

"I'm trying to get to Springfield and I need a few bucks for a bus ticket..."

I've been approached by the same people on different days with different sob stories. There used to be one woman who had her two kids with her and used to ask for money to feed her children. I saw her every week or so for about a year downtown. It sucks because you can't walk a couple blocks without some approaching you and saying:

"Excuse me sir, I'm not a bum or anything...but I can I ask you a question?""

I always give them an abrupt "NO" when they approach me. They always say "God Bless you" or something similar and usually leave me alone. I always used to offer to buy them something to eat, but I was never once taken up on the offer. They would always say "just give me the cash, and I'll go get it." One guy told me food was cheaper in "the hood" than downtown, so if I just gave him money, he could get more for his money in his neighborhood. All they want is cash for cheap booze or crack.

In my opinion, the biggest little annoyance downtown is car break-ins. It happens every weekend all over downtown. It is a small annoyance, but I don't think anything hurts business more.

I'd have to agree about the car break ins. Happened to me a few years ago and I think I talked to the guy who did it. Some homeless looking white guy told me he saw some puerto rican guys or something like that, but he looked so bad I'm pretty sure it had to be him who did it. :angry:

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SOCOM and I where startled at first when he came to us. I just gave him some loose change in my pocket and then he left.

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I always used to offer to buy them something to eat, but I was never once taken up on the offer. They would always say "just give me the cash, and I'll go get it." One guy told me food was cheaper in "the hood" than downtown, so if I just gave him money, he could get more for his money in his neighborhood. All they want is cash for cheap booze or crack.

I used to do the same thing and got the same response. It's no wonder these people have switced their stories from "I'm hungry" to "I need to get to _______".

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I totally ignore all of them. Socom, I wouldn't let them distract you from going downtown. Unfortunately, I also don't think that there is anything you can do about in terms of complaining, but you could be part of the solution and not the problem. I live on the border with downtown PVD and I'm accosted all the time by panhandlers, crackheads, prostitutes ( male and female) and the like. It's still not going to stop me from walking about, but I sure won't do anything like that again.

It doesn't distract me from going downtown - I love being downtown, bums or no bums. My concern is for the people who are distracted by these clowns. I know of quite a few suburbanites who have come downtown, loved what they saw and had a good time, but their experience was ruined by panhandlers and bums bothering them. They haven't been back since, and quite honestly, I don't blame them. Why go downtown when you can go to any suburban town center and shop hassle free. (That's not me talking, but you get my point).

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SOCOM and I where startled at first when he came to us. I just gave him some loose change in my pocket and then he left.

Yeah that's the thing. It was so out of the blue that I have to admit he did catch me off guard. We were talking and then bam he appeared out of nowhere. He was so drunk and looked so dicrepit, he was of no danger whatsoever - which is why I still can't believe I gave him any money at all.

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It doesn't distract me from going downtown - I love being downtown, bums or no bums. My concern is for the people who are distracted by these clowns. I know of quite a few suburbanites who have come downtown, loved what they saw and had a good time, but their experience was ruined by panhandlers and bums bothering them. They haven't been back since, and quite honestly, I don't blame them. Why go downtown when you can go to any suburban town center and shop hassle free. (That's not me talking, but you get my point).

It doesn't distract me from coming downtown either. In fact this is the first time I ever been panhandled and I am in downtown a lot.

Yeah that's the thing. It was so out of the blue that I have to admit he did catch me off guard. We were talking and then bam he appeared out of nowhere. He was so drunk and looked so dicrepit, he was of no danger whatsoever - which is why I still can't believe I gave him any money at all.

Yeah I know. I can't believe I gave him money too. Your right he did look kind of harmless.

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Well SOCOM, you are obviously an easy target. Not like us black hearted cynical urban dwellers. Just kidding. It is unfortunately part of many cities landscape that people have to deal with. But if the city itself is attractive enough, people will still frequent it.

Ya know you may be on to something. Living on Long Island (the ultimate suburb) the last 2 and 1/2 years, I've sort of morphed into an ultra-suburban mindset. :wacko:

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Is it too much to ask to station one cop on the corners of the main intersections in the center of downtown? We'd only be talking about 5 extra cops.

Trumbull & Pratt, Asylum & Main, etc...

We need more cops in the neighborhoods as well, but that's for another thread.

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It doesn't distract me from going downtown - I love being downtown, bums or no bums. My concern is for the people who are distracted by these clowns. I know of quite a few suburbanites who have come downtown, loved what they saw and had a good time, but their experience was ruined by panhandlers and bums bothering them. They haven't been back since, and quite honestly, I don't blame them. Why go downtown when you can go to any suburban town center and shop hassle free. (That's not me talking, but you get my point).

People will continue to come downtown because it's culturally more exciting than a suburban strip restaurant. Bums or no bums. For every 1 person that vows never to return, 3 people will make it their 1st visit. If Hartford continues in the right direction and continues to attract diverse businesses intertwined with entertainment, it will never be short of visitors.

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Is it too much to ask to station one cop on the corners of the main intersections in the center of downtown? We'd only be talking about 5 extra cops.

Trumbull & Pratt, Asylum & Main, etc...

We need more cops in the neighborhoods as well, but that's for another thread.

Every major city I've been too has cops visible everywhere, especially in the Downtown. I don't know why there are not always a few cops walking or standing near Trumbull and Asylum and other parts of Downtown.

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People will continue to come downtown because it's culturally more exciting than a suburban strip restaurant. Bums or no bums. For every 1 person that vows never to return, 3 people will make it their 1st visit. If Hartford continues in the right direction and continues to attract diverse businesses intertwined with entertainment, it will never be short of visitors.

No doubt we are heading full steam in the right direction. However, without the panhandlers and car break-ins, we could attract even more people downtown. I can't stress enough how turned off suburbanites (who want to love the city) are when they are approached by panhandlers. Hartford has a small enough CBD that we should easily be able to handle this situation. I was quite surprised that the issue hasn't been delt with yet.

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Apparently you didn't even read my very post that you quoted.

"When I'm on my own, I never give to these people (other than that well dressed couple I told you about in my earlier post). In fact, I usually do tell them off right to their face. Or argue with them about the fact that they are going to use the $$$ for drugs or alcohol. I'm one of those people that will stand up and fight if I have to retain my dignity and fight for what I believe is mine - the right to walk around without being hassled."

You are right about one thing though - I never should have given money to that drunk last night. Bad judgement on my part.

When I was in school, I spent a semester down in D.C., and as you can imagine there's a lot of this going on down there. I had never really been exposed to it, so the first few times I actually gave them money. But I learned pretty quickly and just kept on walking. Well then there was this one time I was using the Metro to get to work, and in D.C. the Metro accepts cards that you can deposit money on. As long as you have any money on it, it will let you on the subway, but you've got to add money once you get to your destination point if you're short in order to leave the station. Well this particular day, I unwittingly didn't have enough money on my card, so when I got to Rosslyn I couldn't leave without adding a $1.50. Unfortunately, I didn't have any money on me, and I kind of panicked. I wound up having to ask strangers for the money! And initially a lot of people ignored me! Obviously I was extremely embarassed, and it was just so awkward to find myself on the other side of the equation.

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