I was pedalling through the intersection of Dot Ave and Columbia Road today when I saw an off beat panhandler cajoling stopped traffic with a unique sign. He carried a placard of cardboard that read only "Kiss Me." No sob story, no explanation of why he needed a kiss instead of spare change, no photo of his children, just two words: "Kiss Me" written with a blue Sharpie on the blank side of a Budweiser case.
He approached each car stopped at the traffic light and leaned in, with his sign prominently held over his heart. At some cars, he pressed his mug with pursed lips against the rolled up glass. If he approached a car with the driver's window rolled down, he did it cautiously, but in the end he pursed his lips to offer a smooch.
I had to stop and watch. I didn't see any takers for his offer. He wasn't the usual grizzled panhandler with full, dirty beard and dirty sweatshirt who usually occupies this intersection. Neither was he a Hollywood-style model. He was just a regular looking guy with a clear complexion dressed in tee shirt and jeans looking for a kiss. I sat on the curb for ten or fifteen minutes and I didn't see him get what he was asking for. Maybe he should have asked for change. Money is easier to part with, apparently.