Wednesday, July 02, 2008

I had an extremely awkward moment this morning, as I left my apartment. I had a trash bag and a pizza box in my hand, and I had every intention of throwing them both in the dumpster on the side of my building. As I walked towards the dumpster, I noticed a homeless man meticulously going through the trash presumably looking for something to eat. He saw me walking towards him, and he said good morning, and I said the same. Normally when I throw the garbage away, I treat the trash like its a basketball, and I'm Michael Jordan, and I just shoot it in there not caring if it makes a lot of noise or possibly spills out into the dumpster. On this day, not only did I carefully put it in (that's what she said), but I put the trash way in the back, as to not disrupt the system that this homeless man had going. He seemed to notice my consideration, or so I thought so, and he said thank you. But what he was saying thank you to, was the fact that I was bringing him new trash to go through, and even smiled.

As I walked away, I felt totally guilty and even more inadequate. Should I have taken him the Starbucks down the street and bought him a real breakfast? Would I have been disrespecting his search for food, if I just gave him money? Should I have complimented him by saying his feet look just as jacked up as mine? I don't know what I should or could have done, but I don't think it was enough. I would just let this go, but as I have documented in earlier blog entries, I tend to get obsessed with learning and understanding certain homeless people, so this could turn into a project.

3 comments:

Chubbs said...

You did the right thing...although I totally understand you wanting to do more. There are a lot of homeless people--from my experience--that are quite independent and don't appreciate blatant charitable acts. They'll accept it, but don't want you to assume they're beggers. He might be that type...might not be.

Either way, it was considerate of you to not michael-jordan dunk your garbage in front of him.

KCHOP said...

I thinkwe all feel that sort of akwardness with homeless people cause we all know deep down it could be us and they are still people. You did the right thing and don't feel bad.

~kawana

lex said...

Funny that i never feel this way when i encounter homeless people. Maybe its that they've become such a part of the scenery that i don't notice them anymore? Have i become jaded to their plight? :(

Not saying that i don't do my part volunteering and stuff, but in my everyday? I must admit im pretty blithe.

It was in very good taste that you didn't just chuck your trash in the dumpster. That would have been rude.