SoHo swag

Just a few of the perks (pictured left).

"Wade, why do you like SoHo so much?" reads a comment posted by "Gigglecream" on a recent Bar Tab column. "I can't stand it. I can't stand the shallowness and douchebaggery."

People love to hate on SoHo. Especially people who use words like "douchebaggery." I'm not sure why.

Yeah, it sucks that I only make a fraction of the median South Tampa income. But domestic suds from SoHo bars like the Tiny Tap Tavern or fresh sandwiches from places such as Whaley's are well within my price range. And it's nice to be able to walk the streets at any hour and not be accosted — not even for spare change or an extra smoke. Plus, much of my leisure time is spent drinking on my back stairwell/patio with my apartment neighbors, who are all childless and in their 20s/early 30s. They're people like me who enjoy living in a walking community; being able to park their car on a Friday and spend the rest of the weekend without moving it thanks to everything from a super market to a 24/7 drug store to a book store to a plethora of nightspots and eateries located within about a mile.

But there's another perk to living in Soho. A secret perk ... The swag. The loot. The amazing free stuff that the more fortunate leave out for us less fortunate. I walk about three miles around Hyde Park nearly every day and almost always on the weekends. On Sunday, I came across a residence on Rome, near Bayshore, with two cardboard boxes on the sidewalk with "free books" scribbled on the flaps. I grabbed three hardback Steinbeck's (including The Grapes of Wrath), three hardback Saul Bellows and an 8-CD lecture on Benjamin Franklin. Basically, I grabbed all I could carry for the approximately mile walk back to my apartment. Later that day, I drove by the house and grabbed a few more selections, including a couple more 8-CD set lectures. Pretty nice haul.