“Hey, I’m not trying to be a creep, but I don’t have gas money,” a man driving some make and model of a truck said. It was a Pick Up, one I imagine men drive in the summer sans shirts. “I am not a bum. I have a nice truck and cigarettes, I just need some gas,” he continued.
For the record, assuring me that you already have your cigarettes isn’t going to do anything in terms of justifying asking for money. I thought this, of course, as I reached into my bag and pulled out the little money I had gotten from my dad when I visited home last weekend.
“You’re a much better person than I am,” my friend said when he left. She had remained quiet during the interaction.
“No, I’m not,” I said. I would love to pretend I’m someone who donates money all the time, but I’m not. I don’t have enough money to give away. And quite frankly, I’m afraid the homeless people I see are going to kill me half the time. I used to give away food, but after I gave away my favorite vegan cookie to a woman in a grocery store parking lot, something didn’t feel right. Granted she was hungry, but I really wanted that cookie. I still catch myself thinking about it. I volunteer, and love that, but giving stuff away doesn’t work well for me.
So why did I give that man the money? The same reason any of us do anything: selfishness. I am trying to gain some karma points, because stuff has not been going horribly for me recently (knock on wood), and when presented an opportunity to redeem my bonus bucks of life I grabbed at it.
This isn’t supposed to make anyone think I’m great. I’m serious when I say that I never give money to people who ask for it. I rarely even buy my friends things. I’ll offer, but I’m usually lying. This is meant to remind us of how selfish we are. And on the eve of a snow day, I want anyone who reads this to realize how fortunate we are that classes are cancelled tomorrow prior to noon, and think, “what’s something I can do for someone else, to ensure we remain lucky and this winter storm becomes a blizzard?”