Okay, we changed departure time to 3:45 am and got a fairly useful nap or two before then. PATH and NJT train to airport worked fine, as did Airtran, though the NJT machine shorted me a dollar. Either that or interdimensional monsters ate it.
We checked luggage and had a delightful breakfast at a place staffed by astonishingly cheerful and friendly folks. mneme surprised them by leaving a tip.
While eating, we were approached by a panhandler saying he just needed to make eight bucks. mnemex said he knew the guy was running a scam, something normal people, even those who know that's what's going on, just don't do. The guy said we looked like nice people, but then we started in with this, and we were nerds.
As he walked away, mnemex and I started laughing at the undeniably true charge. Yes, we are nerds.
mnemex parsed the man's response as "I thought you were an easy mark, but now you're broadcasting I'm a scam artist. Dude, this is my living! It's my job, man."
I'll not deny charity is not my strong suit. mnemex is more charitable, as are many of my friends. I've occasionally given food, when I have it, and, rarely, money to musicians on the subway.
But, there are Known Scam Patterns, and "I am trying to get X dollars" is one of them. Moreover, it is an escalation scam. If you give X dollars, the usual response is to say, "If only I could get Y more dollars, I could [insert desirable result]".
And... at Newark Liberty International Airport?? While I am sure it is possibly to be genuinely down, out, and desperate there, my mind boggles attempting to construct an appropriate scenario, without involving extradimensional entities. That's what I get for starting The Atrocity Archives.
Security checkpoint was reasonably quick, although a man did check my backpack. My own fault, I figured, for packing it so full. I watched him check my food for explosives. Fortunately, bread, brie, couscous, chocolate, and pop tarts all got a pass. The man asked if I wanted to repack my stuff, and when I said yes, he thanked me for my patience. I told mnemex that I thought he'd been patient and that if I had pulled the food into a bin, he wouldn't have had to scan it. mnemex wasn't so sure, given that there's a bit of a similarity between organics and explosives. Regardless, no harm done.
The flight was quick, and we are off to fetch luggage.