Hail the panhandler

It’s been three days, and I can’t get this out of my mind…

On Saturday I went to a liquor outlet to get a case of wine. On my way out, one of the infamous Highveld storms broke loose, pouring down hail which bounced off my car with a sickening sound.

As I was moving along in the traffic, I caught a fleeting glimpse of a panhandler standing at a traffic intersection, straddling two lanes. He was dressed in what looked like patched-up jeans and a clearly ripped t-shirt, holding a small square of cardboard, using it to desperately shield himself from the savage blows being meted out by the hailstones.

It was such a pitiful sight, but I couldn’t do a thing being caught in moving traffic, trying to escape the storm like everyone else. Or… I could have but didn’t.

I remember still thinking about it nearly an hour later, as I was nearing my destination. I wished I could go back to see if he was alright.

And it’s still troubling me three days later. I hope he’s okay…

Aggravation at an intersection

Fixing traffic light10 things that vex me to some degree or the other at traffic intersections, in decreasing order of annoyance.

  1. Traffic lights that don’t fucking work due to power-outs, poor maintenance or,┬áidiots who have ridden them over.
  2. Impatient morons who take off before the traffic lights change, in order to get to the next set of RED traffic lights a few seconds before you.
  3. Traffic cops who lounge in their vehicles when they should clearly be directing traffic.
  4. People handing out flyers and pamphlets, especially when there’s a whole bunch of them queuing up to get to your car window, each with a different bill… and then to be faced with more of them with the same useless pieces of paper at the very next intersection, and the one after.
  5. Do-gooders (or not) collecting money for their churches or temples or other religious organization. Really people, if you’re going to be standing out in the hot sun collecting funds, then at least desist from trying so hard to convince me that prayer works.
  6. Hawkers selling cheap Chinese junk that nobody wants, but some are coaxed to buy in sympathy, and “support” informal trading. What kind of an idiot buys electronic products at an intersection? I really wouldn’t mind so much if they actually sold something useful. Fruit and vegetables aren’t too bad, except when they try to slip in some rotten apples in the carefully made-up packs.
  7. Students who don garish, often absurd outfits (men wearing tutus and dresses are common) and plead for money so that they can attend some sporting event, or go on vacation or some other pretence. Even worse, are the guys (and sometimes gals) who actually collect money to pay for their weddings. Why should I have to pay when I’m not even invited, so that you can impress your friends and family with a formal wedding which you can’t afford? True love means never having to splurge on a wedding… or something like that.
  8. People who insist on crossing the street after the traffic lights have changed, then stare angrily at motorists who now have right of way.
  9. Panhandlers who insist on washing your windscreen, after making it quite clear that you don’t need the “service.”
  10. Adults who beg. I honestly feel for you, but there’s just too many of you at too many intersections, all day, every day, and I really can’t support you indefinitely. I’m however quite happy to hand out loose change occasionally, when I do have some available.