well_lahdidah said that picking up coins from underneath a park bench is tantamount to mugging a homeless person. The coins, she said, did not belong to me. I had to give them away. We agreed that I would give them to the next homeless person who asked me for money.
We did a lot of walking on Saturday, but for some odd reason, panhandlers were absent from some of their usual perches. Even when I did see some folks down on their luck, they seemed preoccupied and did not ask for change.
We briefly discussed how to give the coins to someone, unsolicited, but any plan seemed either liable to offend ("Excuse me, you look like you could use a couple dollars") or contrived ("Hey, I think you dropped these!").
Even yesterday I managed to leave the subway without coming across the usual suspects.
Or had I somehow picked up magical coins? Talismans that ward off panhandlers? How much would such a thing, if it were real, be worth to a New Yorker? What unbelievable luck!
Were the coins cursed? Could panhandlers sense that I had basically mugged one of their own? Or had I done worse – were these the coins meant to cover the eyelids of a departed indigent on his journey to the underworld, and without his payment to the ferryman, Charon, his ghost was following me and scaring off the other beggars?
I finally managed to get rid of one by buying a pencil from an old man clutching a glove-full of pens and pencils outside the Wendy's on 15th and Chestnut. His eyes went wide and he said, "A dollar! Thank you." I was tempted to give him both coins, but he clearly wants to feel like he's hawking his wares, and $2 for a pencil starts to look suspiciously like charity.
One blessed/cursed Sacagawea remains. I assume it will find its intended recipient before the week is out...but you never know.