Thursday, August 10, 2006


sense of humor

This morning on the ride in, I was sitting next to this nice older guy. An elderly homeless woman got on the train, parked her stuff right in the door, then started playing the harmonica.

I shifted uncomfortably. She stopped, and was talking about how she started playing the piano at the age of 12, but she just took up the harmonica.

The nice older guy, before he got off, gave the woman a dollar. She took this as an opportunity to talk to him, and he uncomfortably sat back down for a moment, trying to disengage from the situation.

You know that thing in sociology, when they say that when one person does a good deed or follows the law, other people are more inclined to do so? Up to that point I had been batting around in my head whether or not I should give her money (fors: she's homeless. She needs money. Against: I'm doing a charity thing this weekend, and giving $15 then.) Just when I decided to give a buck, I remembered that it was a moot point, since I didn't have more than a couple of pennies rattling around in my wallet.

More people got off, a good number handing her money. She smiled, her face dirty, and said that she wasn't doing it for money, she was doing it for God, but she appreciated it greatly.

As people flooded in at the stop, I moved closer to the window, experiencing that odd cracking of the thigh joint that I sometimes do. Another older man sat next to me, this one wearing a suit jacket and a bow tie.

I kept reading my magazine, because that is what one does, and he said to me, with a bit of a chuckle, "Oh, I see we have some entertainment."

I responded something along the lines of, "She just got on...she's pretty good, actually."

He then said, with another little laugh, "don't worry, she'll be off in a few stops."

That really irritated me. So I curtly responded that I thought it was quite sad, and returned to my reading.

Here in the Bay Area we have a pretty large community of homeless people, and I always find myself trying to decide whether or not to give...
I find that the only guy I give to on a quasi-regular basis (as opposed to semi-regular basis) is the guy that holds a sign that read, "Even a smile help :)"
it's so hard, deciding whether or not to give...
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