This week has been very stressful for me at work but I am not going to talk about that. Part of me wants to but part of me knows it’s best to move beyond that to seek the things that really fulfill the soul and let my spirit soar.
Yup, it’s been that kind of a week until Friday. I left work early and went over to the lumberyard to get some pieces of wood for a project. The marquetry club had a day long workshop yesterday and we were building boxes with marquetry on the top so I set off for the lumberyard to see what I could find.
In the scrap bins I found two small pieces that would fit the requirements and they weren’t too expensive. At least not compared to the other stuff in the racks. Woodworking has become a very expensive hobby but I was lucky to get out of there for less than my monthly mortgage.
It was 5 o’clock when I left the yard and the traffic was terrible so I was unable to make my normal lefthand turn and decided to turn right and go a different way home. Also my little detour would let me drive past another lumber yard a club member told me about (sadly they were closed when I got there).
Eventually I found myself in a lefthand turn lane. Walking on the island in front of the turn signal was your basic homeless person with a sign begging for money. I have a rule not to give to these people hanging out in traffic like that – it’s unsafe and I don’t want to encourage, or reward, bad behavior.
But, I do give to the homeless I some times run into on the street or hanging out in front of the grocery store. I don’t give cash and if you want something from me you’d have to pass my three second, “you’re not a scammer” test. I freely give to those in true need but really get tweaked when someone is begging out of laziness or just because they can make a quick buck from kind hearts like mine – okay, semi-kind hearted me. Trip my scammer alert alarm and you’ll get nothing but from me save a firm and threatening, “NO”.
I give $10 gift cards to fast food places. It’s not much money but you can get a very large number of calories for that.
So when I am walking around and am approached, or see a homeless person, I’ll open up my wallet and give them a card to the closet place I’ve got. Now we all know that they wanted money but I figure they need a meal and that’s what they get from me. I always get a “Bless you” or “Thank you” or similar reaction. From time to time I get a, “I love this place, thanks!” Sometimes I just get a funny look but no one turns the card down.
While sitting waiting for my light to turn green the homeless guy started walking down the line of cars with his sign. Most signs these people use are intended to generate sympathy and get drivers to open up their wallets. Usually I rollup the window and check the door lock, but this time his sign caught my attention. It read:
“Too ugly to prostitute.”
Now, the guy was ugly, certifiably ugly – missing teeth, dirty, no shoes, he didn’t have a left hand and his arm had one long scar (no doubt left over from whatever had taken his hand off).
Now the sign bothered me. Really bothered me. I could see that it was this man’s attempt at humor at his situation but I see any number of things wrong with the words (at the least, it’s sexist and displays a lack of understanding of the words). I wondered about what was going on in the guy’s mind when he wrote it and wondered why he was walking the streets. He could have been a alcoholic, drug addict, mentally ill, or even a war scarred vet. There was just something about him that said I needed to do something for the man.
So I broke my rules and opened my wallet. As it happened we were right in front of a Wendy’s and I had a Wendy’s card. Well that sealed it in my mind and I opened the window and waved him down. I gave him the card with my usual line, “get yourself some dinner.” Part of me figured God put he and I on that corner and that time for a reason.
He then said, “You’re a God send, a God send.”
I’ve been blessed by the homeless but have never been a “God send.” The light turned green and I drove away. He started walking back towards the turn signal.
On Saturday Heather and I went to the marquetry class and had an enjoyable day with our woodworking friends and played with power tools. We got a great start on the box and just need to finish the marquetry and do the final sanding (pictures next week).
It’s likely that every time I look at the box we made I’ll think of that man and his weird sign.
Tomorrow I’ll go back to my stressful job and the ugly man will find another street corner. I can curse my job, or be grateful that I am still able to work.
What I think I will do tomorrow on my lunch time walk, is see if I can find that homeless guy who hangs out near the office and see if he wants KFC or Taco Bell for dinner.