Anyway, so for those of you who don't know, I live in the city now whereas I had never lived in a city (and rarely been to one) before this point in my life. Additionally for those who don't know, I have a giving, generous soul. For those of you who have never been to a city, there are people who ask for change of passersby in cities. I feel like 90% of the time people either (1) Walk by with their eyes down and pretend not to hear or (2) claim to have no change. I usually fall into party #2 except I actually don't carry money on me (the contents of my pockets on any day are my cell phone and my university ID.
Today was a bit different as I actually had a couple bucks in my pocket and after I went to dinner with my friend Meg (one of the 3 people I've found who I could be friends with for 4 years without wanting to punch her in the face) I thought to myself, hot damn I want some gummi bears; imma go to CVS and get some. I go in, I get my candy, and on my way out there's a guy standing on the corner asking for change. This man had maybe 5 teeth, wore jeans that were rather wet looking around the crotch, and seemed quite mentally absent apart from asking for change. My thoughts: quite possibly a drug addict (option #2 is mental patient minus the being patient part). I have like 75 cents in my pocket, so I give it to him. What he spends it on isn't really my concern; 'tis the giving season for crissake. He says thank you because everyone else has passed him by and I feel a little glow inside.
Go another block, a big black guy approaches me. He's a bit shorter than I am but still a big man. He introduces himself and says what I good person I am for shaking the hand of a black man (for those of you who don't know, I'm a blond, white woman) and how the people further up the street are ignorant. He tells me I've got good karma and starts talking about his daughters and opens his hand to show me some change (a couple of quarters and a penny) and before he can even ask, I tell him I don't have any change because I really don't. And my happy charitable glow from earlier dies because I did have change and I gave it all to a drug addict when I could have given it to this man.
I'm completely aware that he could have been lying; I'm not some kind of country rube, but I still would have liked to give him some money because, even if he walked away chuckling and thinking I was a sucker, I would have brightened his day.
As an extra kick in the teeth, after the guy said God bless you and kept going down the block, I'm waiting for the light to change to cross and go up the hill to my building and the drug addict/mental patient comes by again walking up the block and asks me for change again. I tell him, in a politely bemused way, that I've already given him some, and he chuckles and mumbles some stuff and keeps going. I tell him to keep warm, and he laughs a little more with all 5 of his teeth and rambles incoherently.
Now I don't know how to feel...