Today, I bought a bag of skittles from a street vendor instead of giving money to a homeless woman.
The homeless woman with her cup was crouched on the same block, maybe 15 steps before the vendor. I paused my train of thought to consider giving the woman a dollar. I knew I had 2 dollars in my wallet. But that meant I had to stop, pull out my wallet, open the wallet to find the dollar and face the woman in front of me whose life is harder than I have the ability to imagine. I would have to place the dollar in the cup and wonder why I didn’t put both dollars. I’d have to place the dollar in the cup and see what was in the cup. If the cup looked full, I would have the thought, “My she’s had a successful day.” If the cup was empty, I’d have returned to my moment earlier thought, “Why didn’t I give her both my dollars?”
I resumed my original train of thought as I kept walking passed her. I had been thinking about fancy yoga poses on Instagram and what it is about them I hate so much. Is it because I truly believe they’re devaluing the practice? Or is it just because I can’t do them?
15 steps later, I walked passed a street vendor. I kept walking. Then I stopped, turned around and walked back to the street vendor. I pulled out my wallet. I opened the wallet and found a dollar. I continued to dig through all my coins for a quarter. The skittles were $1.25.
I threw the skittles in my bag, immediately disappointed in myself for having so quickly given in to my drug that I give into when I feel weak inside—sugar.
5 steps later, it hits me. I can’t believe what I had just done. How quickly I forgot about the woman. The irony of the entire situation.
The icing on the cake was that one of my resolutions for the year was to always carry a dollar in my bag, and as long as I had a single dollar, I would give it away to the first person who asked me for it.
Why do I always hesitate? What exactly am I afraid to confront?
I had to write this down. And here, in my notes section on my phone, on the subway, I began to write. Halfway through my story, a homeless man walks through the subway car, offering up a cup. I immediately pause my train of thought, stop typing, pull out my wallet, open it up and find the dollar, drop it in the cup. There was already some change in there. “God bless.” He didn’t look at me. I felt ok with that.