Tuesday, December 12, 2006
I rarely carry cash. That makes it easy to turn away panhandlers and bellringers with a clear conscience. "Sorry, I don't have any cash." Today I actually had cash on me, though after I paid for my delicious takeout falafel and tabouli at lunch, I had only a twenty and a single one. As I approached my car a homeless-looking man began spritzing and wiping my very dirty windshield. I felt a brief flicker of irritation--he didn't even ASK first! (And confusion--this doesn't happen regularly in Tulsa. The panhandlers NEVER want to "work for food," despite their placards to the contrary.) Then I realized that, after the recent inclement weather, my windshield was very, VERY dirty and that whatever magical elixir he had in his beat-up Febreze bottle, it was doing a very good job of cleaning. So I let him finish, and handed him the single dollar (what? you think I'm handing over a twenty?) with a smile. He grunted thanks and walked off. (I don't think the grunt was necessarily meant to be unpleasant--he seemed to have difficulty speaking.) But as he walked off I was wishing I'd had a five. Compared to my sparkling (and completely streak-free--what WAS that magic elixir?) windshield, my side windows and back windshield looked like Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze after their pot-throwing love scene. I didn't feel that $1 and a smile merited a more thorough window cleaning, so I regretfully drove off less than completely fulfilled. Sigh. I suppose I could go home and clean the rest of the windows myself. Or only look forward while I drive. Yeah, that's easier.