Thursday, May 1, 2014

A long story does not always lead to a burger.

I'm not a complete sucker and I'm not completely heartless either, although I do have my moments. I was standing in the street (like any reasonable human being does), waiting for someone, when a man asks "is this ---, KS"? I immediately put up my guard because who says something like that? He got here somehow and it probably wasn't knocked out in the back of someone's trunk. I would bet that he had some say in the city he stopped in, to randomly ask, if he was in that city, that he chose. (Am I being rude?) So yes, I reply, you are in that city. He obviously thought that I took the bait, hook line and sinker, as he dove into the rest of his story. I'm from so and so, someone took my such and such, I need so and such, I can't get such and such, because I don't have so and so, and I am just trying to get enough money for a burger. (That's a long story for a burger). I took the hook out of my mouth, that he had tried to catch me with, and mentioned that he could get everything he needed at a specific agency, which was only a few blocks from where we were. No, he says, they are closed, I was just there. Now, I have volunteered many a time with this agency, and am pretty familiar with their hours. Today being no holiday, I was pretty sure they were open. I offered to call. Okay, he says, but I just came from there and they're closed. While I'm calling, I'm thinking, if they really are closed, I have no problem taking this man to get a meal, it interrupts my plans of rushing home to do nothing, but I'll manage. The man gets impatient while I am listening to all the phone options of which extension to dial. He starts to say he's just going to keep moving, and I'll admit, I give him an ever so slight amount of attitude and tell him that I am still listening for the right extension. Sure enough, they are open, and yes, they are serving lunch. The man gives me some fake enthusiasm (I shouldn't say that, maybe he had gone to the wrong building before, so he is flooded relief that they really are open..), I then mention that they can help him with all the such and such(es) and so and so(es) that he needs.
 At some point in talking to this man, my guilt kicked in, of not doing anything for him, which makes not sense, as clearly I was willing to hear his story, and help him in whatever way I could. Why not just give him money? or take him out for a meal? Can't I just realize that it is enough to point the man in the direction of resources, that have already been set up to help him? Why do I still feel guilty? and how can I feel guilt and pride at the same time? Pride that I didn't fall for his shenanigans, guilt for even thinking they were shenanigans, pride for helping someone who needed help, and guilt for not doing more. My brain hurts. I'm definitely counting that as my giving for the day. The end.

Lesson: A long story does not always lead to a burger.

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