Friday, December 20, 2013

Battle of the Metro: Drunks vs. Buskers

Riding the Metro to work the other day, a beggar on crutches came through the cars. He reeked of alcohol and BO. Lovely. I would have felt bad for him about the crutches and homeless bits, if it weren't for the smelling-like-alcohol bit.

At the next station, a mom and pop musical duo boarded the train and started playing the WORST music I've ever heard. Pop was screeching away on the violin while Mom was banging on a pot--literally a pot--completely out of tune. My toddler has more rhythm than that (but that's because he's awesome).

While I don't normally give money to buskers, I make an exception for anyone who's really good. My general gauge is that if I start tapping my foot or bobbing along to their music, they deserve money. If I have to plug my ears, THEY need to pay ME.

I resigned myself to suffering through the ruckus, re-reading the same line in my book for the infinitieth time.

"Hey! What the hell are you doing? This is my train!" the becrutched beggar shouted. Oh goodie, he was back. "Get the hell off! I'm working here!"

I begged (hee) to differ. I'm not sure I'd call what he did work, plus he'd already passed through our car. But if he got Mom and Pop off the train, I was on his side.

"OK, OK, sorry," Pop said, stowing his violin. Mom got in a few more beats on her makeshift drum before she realized what was going on.

Now I actually felt sorry for them. I mean, they needed to stop the screeching but I didn't think they deserved to get yelled at by Crutchy Le Drunk.

It got me thinking. Do these people really consider it work? I guess so. And I guess they all have their "territories" and feel the need to defend against intruders. It's a fascinating world I admittedly don't know much about.

As we pulled into the next station, Mom and Pop got off and Crutchy Le Drunk hobbled to the next car. I resumed reading my book. Life goes on.

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Life's short. Laugh more. Buy my books at

Vicki Lesage, Author