Thursday, January 24, 2013
Hard to ignore: that feeling that has been following me all day since I gave a man outside the Dunkin' Donuts a dollar. While talking to him, he told me that he'd prefer that people give him food instead of money because he's honestly just really hungry and doesn't know when he's going to eat next. I didn't have any other cash to give him and at the end of our conversation, I told him to stay warm, hoping that he could put that money toward a sandwich or towards the fee for a night at the homeless shelter. And then all afternoon, I thought about how stupid I was because it didn't occur to me until later that I should have taken him right into the store and bought him food. Regret.
While everyone is complaining about how cold it is, most of us are lucky enough to go home to a warm home, or at least a cold apartment with lots of blankets and some soup. This week, I've seen so many homeless people bundled up in bus stop kiosks or standing in store doorways with all of their belongings just to get a gust of hot air from inside. Yes, it's cold outside and they know how cold winter really is. I wish I had a way to make sure everyone was warm and fed.
Maybe I'm being too sensitive; I'd like to think of it as being empathetic. I'm sure most would say I'm too idealistic. It's just that I can't stop thinking that maybe I could have helped in some little way. No one deserves to freeze outside or go hungry. I try never to forget how fortunate Anthony and I are compared to others. Just in New Haven and Fairfield counties alone, the difference between economic groups is unbelievable. The gap is especially clear to me after listening to an hour of co-workers discussing $200 shirts and ski weekends.
So, I apologize if this post is a bit preachy. It probably stems from the guilt. All I know is that next time, I'll use my brain in the moment and do whatever I can do to help even the smallest bit.