Aaaaand … that’s it for the Easter weekend. It just wasn’t long enough. Okay, it was four days, which is certainly nicer than your regular, run-of-the-mill three day long weekend, but I think that if you’re going to have a holiday built around a particular day, then it should be longer than four days. Like Christmas. That’s a two-weeker for those of us in the public school system. Easter should be like that too – and we might still keep Spring Break at two weeks, as well. When I am proclaimed Empress of this Place, I will do that. I promise.
But it’s been a nice break. We had great weather here on the Wet Coast for two days of it, and quite fortunately, those were the two days that DD and I spent shopping downtown.
I do not like shopping. I generally avoid it. (Except for home furnishings and appliances. That I could do every day. Twice.) However, DD and I do a major shopping trip every year on the Easter weekend. We replenish our spring and summer wardrobes, and we usually get a great bang for our buck because every shop has sales at this time. Last year, the rounded-off amount I alone spent on clothes on our shopping trip was 600$. I beat that this year. I added up my receipts to just over 800$. (But really, that’s only because I bought a raincoat for 150$ and a smashing little black dress also for 150$. I will wear those for ten years. Amortized out, that’s only 30$ a year for both items. A win, I think.)
You may or may not know this, but downtown Vancouver seems to be famous for its panhandlers. Apparently, we have more – and more aggressive – beggars than many other big cities in the world. I think I agree with this assessment, based upon the big cities that I personally have visited in my lifetime. In Vancouver, it is pretty much guaranteed that you will be hit up for money by people claiming that they just need another dollar for bus fare home, or any spare change so they can buy milk for the baby, or a couple more dollars so they can get that hotel room they so desperately need to get the good night’s sleep that they’re just not getting in the shelter. Some of these stories may be true, many are not. Some of these people really are in dire straits, some choose this as a way of life. And sometimes, I have been caught off-guard, seasoned Vancouverite that I am.
A couple of years ago, PG and I were strolling down by the waterfront, when a young guy approached us and asked us if we lived here. I took “here” to mean in downtown Vancouver, so I replied in the negative. He immediately launched into some long story about how he just needed twenty-five more dollars for the busfare up to Whistler. His wife and baby son were already up there, he explained, and he had a job at a restaurant there, waiting for him. He’d just been robbed and had lost everything, so he had no way to get to Whistler, and he’d tried calling his wife, but she wasn’t answering her phone. He HAD to get there tonight, as his job started in two days. He actually started to cry as he spoke about his baby son whom he hadn’t seen for a month, since his wife gone up to Whistler to sort out their living arrangements. He told me he was originally from Australia, and even showed me the kangaroo tattooed on his forearm. As he spoke, he got a little panicky, as he claimed that the bus for Whistler was leaving from the Hotel Vancouver in only half an hour, and he absolutely HAD to be on it.
I fell for it.
Yes, I fell for it despite the fact that his Aussie accent came and went at interesting intervals. Despite the fact that I know that Greyhound buses leave from the old train station, not the Hotel Vancouver. Despite the fact that when I pulled out my wallet and handed him a five-dollar bill, he practically stuck his face into my wallet and said something along the lines of “You could give me that twenty, too, then I’d have all the money I need.” At that point, I got testy and retorted that there were lots of people around that he could hit up for additional money, and I wasn’t about to give him ALL my cash, so back off!
As PG and I turned away, a woman who’d witnessed the last part of this walked past us breezily and said, “You shouldn’t give him anything! I’ve seen him here all week with that same story!”
Oh. Well, too late. The con artist had melted into the crowd, and I was out five dollars, feeling stupid. Lesson learned.
But my narrative doesn’t end there. Oh no, it does not. You see, sometimes you get a second chance. You can redeem yourself.
As DD and I wandered around downtown this weekend, that very same guy came up to us and began the very same spiel in the very same in-and-out fake Aussie accent! I recognized him immediately. I stopped, looked right in his eyes, and announced very loudly, “I’ve met you before, and you’re a liar! Get lost!”
He slunk away, and I marched on triumphantly. That almost felt better than spending 800$ on new clothes!