Yesterday I rode the trolley home from work. You see all sorts of different people on public transportation, from all walks of life, and the older gentleman who sat opposite me was certainly interesting, and very talkative. He appeared to be homeless, though he never said that he was. He had indistinguishable tattoos all over and was deeply wrinkled and tangle-bearded and not terribly clean. But he sure was friendly.
During our rambling conversation, he somehow got to the subject of how to score free money. It was a topic that really animated him. He claimed that there were thousands of dollars hidden all over the city, and you just had to know where to look.
Apparently, people who live on the streets have a tendency to stash their money in secret but public places, to avoid being robbed. The fellow said that many homeless people use crystal meth to ease the pain of their situation, and that one unfortunate result of using that drug is that they become extremely forgetful. And bundles of cash are left forgotten in all sorts of unusual places.
With some skepticism I asked where all this money was hidden (I walk a lot downtown and I sure haven’t found any!) and he rattled off some likely places where he always searched.
He said that money was often left under larger stones, such as in public parks or in the landscaping in front of buildings. Or anything that can be easily lifted, in order to hide stuff undernearth. I thought to ask him if money was left under stepping stones, and he said no, almost never, it was too obvious.
He said underpasses or tunnels or similar dark places where the homeless sleep or hang out were probably the best places to look. He once found a couple hundred dollars dug into the dirt under a bridge. Anyway, that’s what he claimed, and he seemed perfectly serious.
According to him, hidden treasure can also be found behind pipes and vents along walls and in alleys, where passing people won’t notice. Also, in abandoned shopping carts that are full of collected junk. (I do see these from time to time, but they’re usually super disgusting, and I’ve never considered searching through them!)
Lastly, he mentioned public toilets, where the homeless often go to tidy up or engage in private activity, which he seemed to think was pretty funny. I don’t know where in a public restroom oodles of cash would be hidden–maybe under the sink?
I asked the old guy: when you find these caches of money, how do you know they were forgotten? He assured me that any money he found had been forgotten, and anyway, finders keepers and losers weepers.
I know that when I find coins on the sidewalk, I have no personal qualms about jingling them in my pocket. But if were to uncover hundreds of dollars…? Well, I suppose I’ll worry about that when it happens!