Or, letter to an English lady in teaching profession whom I met outside the Georges Pompidou library today:
We met today, Sunday Oct 4th YooL 2009, New Calendar (the Old one being as usual 13 days behind, and saying it is Sept 21, but even so Sunday) in presence of two of your collegues and four of your students, all ladies.
You said "I shouldn't be doing this, you've persuaded me, I feel bad about this", me answering "God bless your sweet heart"; but while you searched for an euro as asked for (and eventually found the fifty cents) you said something which ticked me off: "I have been told off". When I tried to ask you who had told you off, you said: "Don't ask for more" and I assure you once again, I was not asking for more money. I do want to know WHO is telling even TOURISTS (or study visitors) off from giving alms to a beggar or poor man who has wet hair and wants a coffee, and why they are so important that the tourists listen to them. Or what they argued by to make a tourist listen.
If it had been only the French who reacted like that today, it might have been some people who think they are doing me a favour by making it less easy for me to live by begging. Indeed, I would prefer living by my writing (including the service of linking to other writers, which, if done on paper is called writing or editing bibliographies) - http://o-x.fr/vru on this blog links to most of my extant writings and some other writers as well. Or it might have been people who consider it begging to ask for an euro for coffee, and who think I should not be doing it on Sunday. Indeed, on Sundays I do not sit down in a corner to beg for money, which I do sometimes on week days.
But you are English. So, thank you again for the fifty cents, but who told you off?
Paris IV, G. Pompidou
Oct 4 2009,
Feast of St Francis of Assisi,
whom I would rather not continue imitating, only revering!
PS, I am off to have that coffee, if someone will give me the remaining 35 c - here there are automata that give you coffee for 85 c, but outside the cheapest is generally 1 €.