***This blog has been re-launched at: blog.GlowWordBooks.com
The other night I was standing on a "hip" street corner talking with a new friend. Suddenly, a shiny SUV pulled up, parked in the cross walk and the driver approached us. He had nice, middle-class clothing: non-hole-y jeans and a solid-colour shirt sans collar. He told us his car is on fumes, he forgot his wallet and needs to make it home to Eden Prairie. Could we spare a few dollars?
I looked at my new friend and she (despite her lack of employment) is looking at her wallet, so I felt obligated to look in mine. I didn't want to help (because I have been approached by others trying to make it to Eden Prairie... aka the end of the world...) but I didn't want to appear super-thrifty in front of my new, generous, caring friend. Particularly since this guy (unlike the others) actually had a car to fill with gas.
He ended up getting about $6 from us, asked for our address to return the money (which we denied him), said "God Bless" (a trite line which reeks of compulsive panhandling). With that, he sped off... probably to buy drugs.
Walking back to my car, I wondered why I didn't ask to see his gas gauge. If he would have killed us if we got too close to his car.... why I succame to the pier pressure of donating.... what really happened with the money… what he would have done if we refused him (drove off, or continued looking for help).... what I would have done with those extra dollars... and why I hadn't brought mittens.
It turns out my friend ran out of gas last week, so she felt really bad for him. But we both decided to never fall for that line again.