A homeless guy approached me yesterday as I sat outside my favorite coffee shop, where I was working on my computer while sitting on their patio & enjoying the sun. He was young - probably younger than me - but I could tell he was homeless because he was toting around a suitcase & had sores all over his face... & also because he eventually told me he was homeless. He was with a girl who was also covered in sores & who had one of those weird labret piercings that give me the willies.
He asked if I had a phone he could use to call for a ride, & I begrudgingly said yes. I wanted to say no, but I just didn't know how - & I know, I know, the way to do that is to just say no, but I felt terrible, looking at these actual human beings, in need, & being like, "No, I don't have a phone." I mean, I was holding it when he asked. Clearly I had it. I said he could use it as long as he didn't walk away while he was using it... so they sat down at my table.
Throughout my interactions with them, the three middle-aged men sitting at the table next to me looked at me like, "Are you crazy?!" & they purposefully didn't leave until the whole thing came to an end, for which I'm grateful.
The couple seemed harmless, but they also didn't seem particularly trustworthy. I don't say that simply because they were homeless - homeless people are people, too - but because they seemed... weird, mostly. I don't know how, but just off. Entitled. And he made some weird statements, like saying that the banana on my table "probably tastes so sweet" & asking if I knew where to sell laptops without batteries. (Yeah, I should've been putting together the pieces...)
As he started making calls from my phone, a thousand thoughts ran through my head. You need a password to open my bank app, right? Are drug-induced sores transmittable via cell phone screen? What if he's making, like, international calls? None of his calls seemed to go through, until finally, someone picked up, & he made a few cryptic statements about having... something. Something with an "as seen on TV" sticker. I had no idea what was going on, but I knew he wasn't asking anyone for a ride.
When he was done, he handed my phone back to me (which I gingerly accepted), & they took off. I saw that he had made nine calls and sent a text:
In reading it, I realized: He was talking about selling something. And as I fiiiinally put together the details, I realized I had probably just been part of something illicit. Like a drug deal.
I immediately took my phone into the coffee shop & asked the barista if I could use the hand sanitizer kept behind the counter. As I Purelled the crap out of my phone, he shouted at me "You let them use your phone?! You know all those times in life when someone told you you were being a bitch but you weren't? You've stored up karma. This is a time when it's OK to be a bitch! Take some bitchiness out of your bitch bank!"
Touché, sir. I told him he'd be the first person I asked to serve as a witness on my behalf when the cops seize my phone during some kind of inevitable heroin bust. How do I get myself into these situations?
Fittingly, I'm reminded of the D.A.R.E. slogan of my childhood: Next time a stranger asks me to use my phone, no matter how compelling the reason, I'll make a withdrawal from my bitch bank & "Just say no."