Tuesday, May 17, 2005

five dollars

i'm not quite sure what her sign said. perhaps it was...

old, lazy crack-whore. in desperate need a line of coke. any help would be appreciated.

or maybe...

just spent last dime on blue-rasberry vodka. almost sober. please help.

or perhaps it was something that was supposed to make me tear up and want to help. i don't know what it said.

there is always somebody at the corner. an aging veteran missing his hand. a dusty single mother with three kids seeking for a bus ticket. a skinny, tanned thirty-smothing complete with sleeping bag and scruffy mutt. it's probably a con. a scam. a silly way to make some cash. to buy a tv, make care payments, a shot of heroine...

but maybe they need help. maybe they're a product of their environment who needs some support to finally bust out. each time i pass them, i react. sometimes i'm mad for just passing them up. sometimes i check my wallet to only find receipts - i don't think they take plastic. sometimes i purposely try to pretend i didn't notice them - not to convince them, but an act to convince myself.

i couldn't pass up this time. i spun around and pulled out the only five i had. i never saw the sign. i don't know what she needed, but she smiled graciously as she took it.

perhaps she has enough to get her fix. maybe she's got enough to buy the furniture set she wanted. maybe she's gotten enough to pay for a ride away from her abusive husband. i don't know what she needed. even if i had read the sign, i may never know. i just know it made my day a little brighter.

five dollars. enough to buy a garden salad, medium fries, and small drink at wendy's. fourth the cost of a new dvd. a meal at bajio. a couple gallons of gas. it's not much, but it did something for me today.


  1. Glad your day's a little brighter! All my love!

  2. I hate to admit it, but I am mostly annoyed by panhandlers. Although many of them do need money of course, I sometimes think it's their way of keeping in touch with the rest of society. Otherwise they would be off somewhere by themselves all day where people would never see them.

    Still, I guess asking for money from strangers on a streetcorner is no worse than the requests for donations that come over the phone around dinnertime. . .

  3. To me it doesn't matter what they do with it. What matters is that I stopped and tried to help.

  4. you never know who you may run into and how the way you treat them could effect their day. i struggled with the whole homeless people thing" and then I became one of them. ended up being a "crack whore" of sorts, too. Then it was one guy who had gave me a free place to stay and a genuine interest in my well being and I walked away with some serenity, sobriety, and a spirituality that has afforded me a life worth showing up for.... now my gig is paying it forward.

    thanks for sharing your story.

    place a link to your entry on my blog.


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