Reading a book thats got me thinking. Got me thinking of indifference. Got me thinking of the way we avert our eyes…. the way we all float on on phony bullshit cuz it’s more comfortable to do so.
So leaving the library this afternoon i pass a bum. My car comes upon the knoll where he stands, holding his markered-up card board sign upside down. His eyes are searching the faces in each passing car….. centered, pinched fatigue across his own. I hate passing these guys, hate to make eye contact with them so i don’t. I avert my eyes and then feel like shit…. feel like shit cuz i assume he’s a scammer and will only buy a fifth of vodka with whatever money or crumb of change i give him….. And i don’t have any change and i feel like absolute shit cuz i averted my eyes…… looked away and fiddled with the radio dial…..comfort myself by saying “i didn’t have any money anyway”
So i make my turn and my eyes are burning with tears and disappointment. Here’s this guy, standing on the cusp of wealth where people like my self buy gorgeous clothes and food in gargantuan proportion. Veering up the hill with a little desperation I find an ATM and with draw some money…..
“I hope he’s still there… I hope he’s still there…. Please let him still be there”
I find him along the same stretch of road…. my car comes upon the knoll where he’s still standing, holding his upside down sign. This time though, I’m not just passing. I’ve come for him. He searches my face and i pass him 10 bucks through the window.
He unceremoniously takes the brand new bill and asks that I have a “blessed day”….
I get home and my husband asks where i’ve been. I tell him what i’ve done and he says what a nice thing that was.
“Was it?, Was it?” I say.
“I mean, he’s still a bum. That 10 bucks is not gonna magically make him NOT a bum” .
And what? Do I deserve a moral pat on the back for parting with an amount of money i can make in approximately 20 minutes of work??
My husband asks me how i feel after having done what i did. I say I feel depressed. I don’t know….. guess it was an ok thing for me to do. But it didn’t change one single thing. I don’t feel better (didn’t set out to) and i know i won’t always have 10 bucks to spare….