Sorry, I don’t carry change


I was walking through downtown Winnipeg today after a lovely visit with my buddy Shawn. About half way home, I was approached by a man with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, pushing a nice shiny new blue bike, and wearing dirty ripped clothes.

I watched him set his sights on me from across the street from about half a block away. He crossed carefully through traffic to intercept me as if I were his prey. It was at this point of watching him, I thought to myself Matt, you’re being a little prejudice about this guy. I continued towards him and was hoping that I would able to make myself feel bad for judging him unfairly.

We got close enough for me to hear him and he opened his mouth. Please let him just be saying hi, or good afternoon, or some random Winnipeger pleasantry.

“Excuse me Sir, do you have a moment?” he asked.

Not really. I kind of want to keep walking down the street “What’s up?” Here it comes

“My name is Trey and as you can see I don’t smell like alcohol…” Blah blah blah. This guy had a story to tell. I can already see where this is going. Now I feel like I’m wasting his time by letting him continue rather than stalking his next victim.

“If you’re asking for change, I don’t have any.” I wasn’t lying. I actually don’t carry change in downtown for specifically this reason. I don’t have any so I can’t give you any.

Here is the part that threw me. The next word out of my mouth was “Sorry” before I walked away.

Sorry! Sorry? Sorry… Hmmmm. As I continued walking home I thought about it. Why did I say sorry? I’m not really sorry I don’t carry change through downtown. I’m not sorry that I didn’t have any money to give away to someone that I don’t know. So then why did I say sorry?

Some people say Canadians apologize for everything and perhaps this was just a case of using the wrong word in a Canadianism, but perhaps there is some deeper meaning that I am missing here. What do you think?

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