{ Thursday, November 09, 2006 }

You Be the Judge

Tonight I went out for dinner and didn't come back for over an hour. I got to talking to Ellie. I called her to tell her my mom's super good news and then I spent a long, long time sitting in the parking lot of the Subway chatting on the phone.

Eventually, I got the food and walked out. Where a man with bad teeth limped up to me and told me a story.

He didn't want to lie to me and tell me his car was out of gas. He wanted to tell me the truth. His wife left him the day before. Left and drove off in her car with his wallet, ID, debit card, the whole bit. I was really unclear on how this part of the story came to pass, but somehow he was in from out of town when his wife left him.

Now, as someone who once abandoned her boyfriend 100 miles from home (with his parents) and seriously considered abandoning him in rural Iowa, I can understand how that might have happened.

There was a short speech on the topic "I was a Marine and Marines stand for blahblahblahgoodness" involved in the whole I'm Not Lying to You thing.

He'd tried the VA, Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc, and no one had been able to help him. His brother was flying in (he named an airline, flight time and all the specifics) to rent a car and help him since you can do nothing without ID.

He claimed to have told this story to over 100 people and no one had helped him. Fortunately, I had a five dollar bill in my purse and I handed it over with instructions to go inside and get himself a sandwhich. When I gave him the money, he replied that he hadn't eaten in a day and a half.

Then he informed me that he was going across the street where $5 would buy five hamburgers. And he didn't go into the conveinence store/Subway. He might've gone to the Circle K catty-corner. He was crossing the street headed toward the land of the cheap hamburgers when I left the parking lot.

So, did the guy lie to me?

It doesn't matter because I would've given him the five dollars either way. If I had a couple of ones, I would've given him those, but I had a five, so I gave him the five. I do always give money to the beggars if they ask for it and I have cash. It seems like the right thing to do. I could write a lot on the topic, but the gist is that I get why other people don't do it. I do.

And not just because my half-sister is... well... so far as I know she's choosing to be "missing". I check periodically for evidence that she's not in jail/prison. So, as far as I know, she's homeless and probably has been in the position of asking someone for money. I always gave the homeless money (or cigarettes if that's what I had to offer)before I had a homeless sister.

So, knowing full well that your answer to the question "Did the seemingly nice man who was less fortunate than I am lie to me to get my money?" will have zero effect on my inclination to hand over a couple dollars when asked, what do you think?

Am I suddenly living in a blue state? I thought this was an interesting little essay. It reads about right to me. And it says nice things about my particular Phoenix-area city.

posted by mary ann 9:33 PM