The People You Meet Series: #3

I met a Bum and Hustler from Spain. He’s the “just enough” type of guy. He’s just handsome enough, just charming enough and just interesting enough to get women to talk to him. He’s also just dumb enough to choose the wrong one as a Mark. I walked into the bar to watch a little football. I got there after 6:30pm which meant that the bar was packed.  Finding a waitress to order a beer was difficult. Finding a place to sit was pretty much impossible. As I walked through the bar attempting to do the impossible (find a seat and order a beer) the Spanish Bum said “hello” to me. I smiled and said “hello” while continuing to walk.  He began to chat me up and later bought me a drink (which I watched like a hawk from the time the bartender poured it until it was in my hand). It was when he started telling me stories about his world travel that I knew he was a Bum.

It’s very easy to distinguish a drifter from a traveler. His very, let’s say, “unique” and “inventive” travel hacks screamed “I HAVE NOTHING!” I’m not opposed to having friends who have less than I do but I’m very sensitive, maybe overly so, to opportunists. And something about his faux casual manner alluded to the fact that he just might be an opportunist. When I was ready to move on, that’s when he confirmed my suspicions. English isn’t his first language, he allegedly spoke five, so we sometimes had a little difficulty understanding one another. Because of this it took me a moment to realize that he wasn’t asking me to stay for another drink but was asking me to buy him a drink. He may have even asked for food but once I realized he was asking for anything at all I pretty much stopped listening.  My focus at that point was moving on.  As he continued to speak, I cut him off to bid him adieu. I’d dropped my usual tone and replaced it with something he’d recognize as his cue to drop the subject. As I left I said goodbye to a few other people I’d met. I looked over my shoulder a few times to make sure that he hadn’t followed me out of the bar. I was pretty sure he wouldn’t.  He’s a bum looking something for free. The typical bum just want his freebie and will move on as soon as they encounter resistance.

The moral of the story: Try to avoid talking to bums.

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