Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. One of the local churches near my job offers ashes in the morning for folks who have to get to work, so it's not uncommon to see a flood of people downtown sporting a dusty cross on their foreheads throughout the day. I've written before about a particular homeless woman who roams the neighborhood demanding assistance from people she encounters. I use the word "demanding" intentionally because she attempts to be manipulative in her comments, saying things like "Handsome/Beautiful, can you buy me a hot dog? I'm hungry," with the added compliment of "Are you a model?" or "You're really pretty" or "I like your tie."
In recognition of Ash Wednesday, she added "I went to church too." It had no effect on any of the ash-marked pedestrians who streamed around her. In fact, they seemed to cut a wider path to clear her. I'm really interested in the steps she takes to become visible because it becomes a clear challenge when people are obviously working to not see her. She's not visible while I've seen others who aren't as aggressive get far more attention and assistance from others in the neighborhood. I'm wondering at what point does it become enough. She might have better luck staking out a new area—one where people don't quite know her personality.