Friday, December 23, 2016

Tan Jeer

I had 2 international flights today, 2 days before Christmas. The second, from Madrid to Tangier, was scheduled for 80 minutes. I disembarked 12 minutes early. I cleared passport and customs, got my luggage, and was in the shuttle to my hotel by the scheduled arrival time. I don't think this will ever happen again.

I got tasty tajine. That will happen again.

The beaches are like those in La Jolla, except the camel-toes are on real camels.

Recent experience, compounding one with my brother in Marrakesh, reminds me to update the categories of the BUM Index. Brendan's Urban Mendicant Index refers to the number of city blocks you walk divided by the number of beggars. San Francisco and Atlanta score the worst among American cities, and even rival Tijuana. However, three categories are relevant:

1) Passive: Beggars do not interrupt or accost you, but just sit there, often with a cup or hat. They may try to look pathetic. I ran in to such a guy 2 weeks ago begging in Sporgasse in Graz, who has been there for years. He has a magnificently pathetic beggar face, which he probably doesn't use while cackling home in his Mercedes.

2) Active: The beggars do interrupt you. This may be as simple as asking for change. It may also include a tale that scores far higher on pity-elicitation than honesty. I use the same strategy in grant proposals, although I do say this is a hypothetical case scenario. Atlanta stands out for the tactic of offering you directions, ignoring your reply (such as the then-truthful "I live here"), and then asking for money on Good Samaritan grounds. This often devolves into the next category.

3) Pursuing: The beggars follow you, relentlessly yammering away. Physical contact is much more likely, which (especially in Barcelona) means guard your pockets. The fucker in Marrakesh followed my brother and me for over ten minutes. The guy who accosted me just now limped after me, pleading in several languages that his leg was hurt and he was hungry. Having learned from my Marrakesh experience, I simply accelerated, and that guy sure did keep up well for someone with an injured leg. Nothing like a brisk jog, emerging into a full sprint, after tajine and couscous.

I thus introduce the weighted BUMI. Actives are multiplied by 3, and Pursuings by 10 per minute. Further research is needed. Why, here's a hypothetical case scenario for the grant proposal:

Nigel is a professional mendicant in Graz seeking to expand his revenue generation portfolio. He has relied primarily on casual active begging, but feels that his tax-free income of only about 300 euros per day could be improved. But how? Fortunately, he learns of the Tourist Annoy and Sway Characterization Heuristics for Extended Nuisancing to Derive Improved Euros for Beggars (TASCHEN-DIEB) proposal through a local "Lange Nacht Der Forschung" event. This FFG-funded project teaches him that Pursuing is ultimately more profitable than other categories, especially if you don't quit after being given money. Nigel convenes with other Harvard MBAs, revamps his approach, and reaps even further profits from tourists who are generally much poorer than him.

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