I seem to be on the theme of youth and money this morning, but here's another. We're back on the subway: Lexington Avenue local north out of 14th Street--"Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention for just 10 minutes please." O Lord, what now? It emerges that yes, indeed she is a beggar but (I paraphrase) I never expected to find myself like this, I am a college graduate, I am three months pregnant.
The puzzler part is that indeed she sounded more like a young yuppie wiith a $5.95 latte than any kid on the street. Sure, It Can Happen to Anybody. But kids like her--if I am getting the full story--usually have networks: if not parents, then cousins, or former roomies who will cut them some slack. Is she really as bereft and disconnected as she says? If so, how come she doesn't sound it? Is this just a brazen con? Certainly there are better cons than this? Is it a sociology class assignment?
In the end, she got off at 23d Street, well shy of her ten-minute quota. One clue that she was a true amateur: the young woman across the aisle from me, with a visage of horrified empathy, took a dollar out of her purse, on the ready to contribute. But the beggar, walking the other way down the car, never noticed it.