Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I got schnaaied

SCHNAAI (sh-nigh) ~ Rip off, betray, stab in the back.

No, this is not a balderdash, this is a real SA slang word. I think it comes from a mix of the Yiddish 'schtoop' and the Afrikaans 'naai' - both such wonderfully expressive languages, both words meaning basically, to get screwed.

The annoying part is that I kinda knew it was happening, but I just didn't want this well-dressed, nice-looking guy to be yet another con artist. I wanted to believe that in a world where real people do honestly get stuck in bad situations I could help someone out. That just because we get spun so many stories every. single. fucking. day. we don't have to numb that essential element of human compassion which'll reach out to someone in a time of need.

So I listened to his story, while Compassion and Cynic had the following conversation in my head:

Cynic: 'Ja, whatever with your 'sad' story junkie-man, just get out of my face.'
Compassion: 'Jesus dude, he's standing here in the pissing rain in a decent suit of clothes - have a heart.'
Cynic: 'Decent? The jacket has a red paisley lining - wtf??'
Compassion: 'I'm not going to judge a man by his clothes. I'm not going to judge a man by his clothes. I'm not going to judge a man by his clothes.'
Cynic: 'Oh so if he was wearing Crocs you'd still feel sorry for him? Yeah right.'
Compassion: 'Could we focus here? He's offering to leave me his laptop.'
Cynic: 'Which is where exactly? In that bag? Sure....'
Compassion: 'How crap must it be if you're in a genuine bind and no one will believe you 'cos they're so used to being scammed? Maybe this is one of those times when one just needs to trust in humanity.'
Cynic (whiny voice): 'How crap must it be if you're genuinely hanging for a fix and no one with believe your sorry little con story? Trust away girlfriend, but don't think I'm not greatly looking forward to graffitiing I TOLD YOU SO all over your wounded pride later.'
Cold toes: 'Could you two get a move on, we're getting hyperthermia down here.'

So Compassion gave the guy R50 and 'her phone number so he could phone her later to make arrangements to reimburse her'. And Cynic laughed, said: 'What, and then you'll give him your banking details?!', and got out her spray-can.

And as I walked away I knew I'd been schnaaied. And through all my stewing about it on and off through the day I have to admit that while I feel disappointment in the guy who'll consciously lie to make a quick buck, and anger that his scam will make everyone who falls for it that much more hardened towards anyone out there with a real story (and there are many), my main feeling is embarrassment. Seriously, did I  really fall for something like that?

Ok Cynic, tag me you incorrigible bitch.


Extranjera said...


Trust is the last vestige. Especially in SA.

I admire you!!! I really do (hence the three fokken exclamation points, which is otherwise a complete no no).

Amanda said...

I trust you'll get a phone call tonight or tomorrow...maybe next tie offer to "hold" his driver's license/id for him until he returned the moolah!

Here in Kansas, there is a really nice shopping area in Kansas City called the Plaza. There always have been pan-handlers there. They tried to pass a law that said there could be no more panhandlers, but they sued saying it was their career. The panhandlers are still there!

Only in Kansas!!!

An Open Heart said...

Easy girl....give yourself a break - him pulling a fast one is about him, not you. You showing compassion, even when you figured you might be getting snowballed, is about you and what a great person you are.....put that in your peace pipe and smoke it. I admire you for doing it despite the cynic......and somewhere, sometime, when you least expect it, it will be paid forward.....Even if you never get the phone call from him.(I know, lots of cliche's but, they're true).

Janet said...

I think I agree with an open heart. that kind of karma thing. and it reminds me of an experience that i had where i did pretty much the opposite thing. kind of. i hated myself for it. will have to do a post on it some day.

Anonymous said...

An open heart said it beautifully. I admire you too.

Heather Moore said...

So he didn't call? Your faith in humankind took a knock, but your faith that dude makes mine a whole lot more buoyant!

kat said...

I kinda agree with Extranjera. And I do admire you.

spudballoo said...

Ah these are tough choices and moments. I nearly always give in, but when I don't I hate myself and get anxious about it. Can't win....

rxBambi said...

It's a tough decision but I totally agree. What if it is the one time someone really needs your help. I hope I'd have done the same thing and then kicked myself later, better then looking at the homeless guy on the street and telling him theres a shelter a block away. I'm sure he knows it. But we can't save everyone, right??

btw: I get schnaaied every day.

cinner said...

It is disappointing when it happens. I was at the mall one day and a little boy came over and was crying, he wanted to get his dad a gift for fathers day and he did not haave enough money. I swear they were real tears, he was maybe 9 or being a sucker I gave him 5.00. He thanked me and as I walked away another kid ran up to him and said how much did you get. and then they hi fived each other...little con artists...I felt really disapointed especially when they were continuing on with it. I have to believe there are more out there that are honest than not...take care, cinner

Pattern and Perspective said...

It doesn't really matter if he calls or not. You are a good person for what you did, even if you were taken.

Kim said...

You may have been schnaaied, but it showed that you still have your humanity, which is priceless.