Blanche DuBois

Last week I indulged in a semi-dangerous pastime—reading while walking. I was reading an article from a local paper profiling a homeless man who felt he’d been wrongly harassed by police officers. He claimed that he really never “asked” for change, saying instead “spare change,” in an attempt to prompt a donation. I would have kept reading, but my dumb, broke-down train of thought was abruptly interrupted by the subject of the article… asking me for change. I’m not saying the experience of being hit up for change is annoying; it is, but that’s not my point. I just wish the author had bothered to maybe do a little field research and ask around to verify his claims. The fact is, that guy asks me for change about four times a week. Maybe I’m wrong, and the author did ask around, and I just somehow always end up choosing routes that intersect his points of solicitation.

I’m torn on the homeless issue. On the one hand, I do understand that the ones who don’t suffer from a disability, who live on the streets by choice, are choosing to live outside the system. I empathize with not wanting to live one’s life within the confines of a typical lifestyle, to avoid the trappings of normalcy. However, unless there’s a physical or mental deficiency, the fact remains that they’re choosing that life. Along with that selection comes the responsibility of finding a method to navigate through it. Relying on the kindness of strangers (a’ la Blanche DuBois) is of course their prerogative, but expecting people to fund your lifestyle reminds me of something I’d say as a petulant teenager to my parents—stay the fuck out of my room… but also please bring me some soup.

This practice of making ill-advised life choices and then expecting others to fill in the blanks is a trend that seems to me to be worryingly rampant. It’s apparent in general, but especially visible in my age demographic (25-35). This generation, the trophy kids/millennials—we’re a rather pathetic bunch, aren’t we? It’s distressing, this trend of not just constantly taking, but expecting, feeling entitled. We take so much more than we bring to the societal table. If each generation were tracked on a graph, they’d probably have an erratic zig-zag pattern. We move in one direction toward the dysfunction of an overly strict, emotionally-devoid upbringing, then yank the wheel back the opposite way, over-correcting and ending up with a whole new generation of assholes who whine incessantly and bemoan the fact that no one is handing them the job they feel they somehow deserve.

I just realized, this week’s column was a total bummer. Sorry about that. Let’s end on an “up” note. At a dinner party, a man farts. Another man says, “How dare you fart in front of my wife!” The man replies, “Sorry, I didn’t realize it was her turn!” (Cue curtains and ragtime piano music as I soft-shoe shimmy off the stage.)

Zooey Mae has been working as a writer monkey for Synthesis Weekly since 2007. Her favorite things include (but are not limited to), Jeffrey Brown, bubble wrap, Craig Thompson, pillow forts, receiving handwritten letters, and whiskey. She spends her free time stockpiling supplies for the impending robot Apocalypse and avoiding eye contact with strangers.