Bum Club A red-eyed, twitchy, unkempt guy comes up to me to beg for spare change while I'm smoking. He's wearing headphones, softly thumping bass, so of course I shake my head. He takes a step forward, clearly in my personal space now. He gently touches his cheek, and says, "You're still wearing the sideburns well."
Still? Have we ever met before?
Or am I just that well-known with the local homeless/crack addict community? I haven't given money to a beggar or busker since Paris, '02. Does the community still remember my generosity from then?
Does the "I love you too, babe" lady still speak fondly of me, remembering the love we never actually had? Or am I some Tyler Durden of the street, associating with bums, schizophrenics, and crack addicts? Am I the founder of Bum Club? Am I infamous without even knowing it?
Now that I think of it, I seem to have gone through this a lot. The bum in the shadows of the fascist 2 Columbus Circle building who kept asking me if I had any rubber bands he could "borrow." The hobo who started the fire at 14th Street Station, disabling the A train for months and giving me the perfect excuse to be late indefinitely for work. The grizzled crack addict who always referred to me--and me alone--as "Pops." Am I "Pops" when I associate with the street people? Is that my bumfighting name?