The face of humanity and the comic relief we all need.

Since I’ve started working near the downtown area, I have become increasingly aware and sensitive to the population of homeless here in the city. They ask me for change and I give it if I can. It has made me wonder what I can do to help and thus far, nothing that I am comfortable with has come to mind. Granted, most of this is stepping outside of known comfort zones. Today I did just that.

On my way to Subway for lunch, I passed one of the “regulars” that hangs out around Starbucks. This man has one a place in my heart for always being kind even when I have no change to spare. This is the man who I saw Jack giving money to last week. As I passed him, he asked if I had a quarter, which I didn’t. But I did have a dollar, so I gave him that and we chatted for a moment. He told me how long he had been homeless and how he had just started getting social security but had lost his bank card. I told him I would pray for him and he said likewise. I turned to go and something inside of me shattered. I called University Politico in tears and we talked and prayed and then I ate my sandwich. But I couldn’t stop thinking about that man. I thought about how I should’ve invited him to have lunch with me. I thought about how I should’ve done something else that would’ve been more helpful to him. I mulled this over for a few minutes while I listened to Pink Floyd being piped through the speaker above my head.

I decided that perhaps the best thing to do was buy him a sandwich. But what kind? What would he want on it? Should I at all? Will he be insulted? The guy who rang up my order is still at the register and he’s going to think I’m a fat cow who needs MORE SANDWICH. Oh god. What do I do?

I buy the sandwich anyway, regardless of what the guy behind the counter might or might not think of me. So I did. And when I took it out to the man, he smiled and asked me what kind of sandwich it was. Turkey and ham. “I was just thinking about turkey!” he said. His face was beautiful. I squeezed his shoulder and asked him his name. He held out his hand and introduced himself. Steve. His name is Steve. I told him my name and that I was glad to meet him. He was glad to meet me, too. I told him to take it easy and left.

And then I broke. Sobbing. Hysterically. I don’t know why I had this reaction. I just did. So many people in this country get slighted because they have fallen on hard times. It is not up to us to judge whether or not these hard times are their fault or not. Some people lose spouses and become depressed and in the end, lose everything. Does that make them any less entitled to be treated with kindness? If you pass a homeless man or woman on the street and he or she is drunk, who are we to say that homelessness didn’t make them alcoholics?

This man, Steve, could’ve been pulling my leg. He could’ve been lying to get some money for something illicit. Does he really need that wheelchair or is it just a prop?

Who the fuck cares?

As I was walking past Jack’s office, an attractive man who was probably in his early to mid-thirties pulled near the curb and asked where the nearest Starbucks was. I told him to turn left, he couldn’t miss it. Then he asked me if I was single. I told him no (shhh). And then he said it was okay, he just had to ask all the pretty ladies that question.

Needless to say, it was a welcome distraction.


Posted on June 27, 2005, in Adventures with Sparkle Pants, Pretty happy fun friends, Sparkle Pants does Politics. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on The face of humanity and the comic relief we all need..

  1. Rhonda Jo… I love you so much. Thank you for sharing this story.

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