Yesterday, on the way home, I ran into Wendy, who was sitting on the sidewalk, begging. To be fair, it’s not something she does often. But such sights always throw me into ethical conniptions. Do you give them money, do you not give them money, do you give money to a third party…it doesn’t matter. By the time you’re on the sidewalk, you’ve effectively removed yourself from the possibility of any real help from anyone. Such a drag. But I can’t just go home. Even though she can’t remember it, Wendy and I were roommates, twenty-odd years back. Fate would surely kick my ass for walking on by. And there are worse things than Fate.
I think about it and go and buy some food that I remember her eating: tuna, celery, bread, mayonnaise, some ramen noodles. (Yeah, we always thought diet might have been part of the problem.) I circle the block and she’s still there, sitting behind a box, labeled “Money for Food.” I say hey and drop the bag with the groceries into the box and Wendy gets this puss on, a face of immense annoyance and offended pride. Man, that took me back.
Of course, Fate cannot be fooled by gestures. But I can be.