Sunday, January 27, 2013

Grizzly man

She was walking with a cane, but it wasn't enough.  As she walked, she clung to a parked car, and then to a tree.  She was heading for the door of the coffee shop.  I was inside the coffee shop, standing up to go to the cashier to pay my bill.  I went to the door and held it for her.  At the same time, a man coming down the sidewalk also reached to hold the door for her.  I pushed it outward toward the sidewalk, but once it was out there, he held it and my help was no longer needed.  I went up to the cashier to pay my bill.  Behind me in line was the man who had held the door, and behind him was the woman with the cane.

As I was standing in line, I became aware of an odor.  What was it? Where was it coming from? I hope it's not coming from me. It reminded me of an alley that has been used as a urinal on many occasions.

Oh, it's from the man behind me.  A grizzly, shabby man.  Maybe he is homeless.  Maybe he does not often have access to a toilet or a shower.

After I finished paying, it was his turn.  He ordered a small coffee.  It was just before closing time at the coffee shop.  A small coffee.  Was that what he was going to use to try to stay warm through the night?  Was small all he could afford?

We look at such people with pity and fear.  Or rather, we look away from them with pity and fear.

He held the door for the woman with the cane.  He is not only the object of pity and charity.  He can help others.

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