I had the tsunami on my mind last night as I was driving home from work. I’d been thinking about how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful city like L.A. and how with all its flaws, I still had the luxury of making it easy on myself by having some Taco Hell for dinner, instead of trying to figure out how to make dinner with the random stuff in our fridge. No, it was not a healthy choice, but that’s what I did last night.
Anyway, as I drove into the line at the Taco Bell drive-thru, I saw a older, African American man panhandling his way down the line of cars. Usually, I don’t give money to beggars because I know from working firsthand with homeless folks that money often goes toward unhealthy things like cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs. But it was an especially chilly L.A. night and I was feeling like if I couldn’t do more for the tsunami victims, maybe I could do a little more for the people in need around here.
(more after the jump…)
Except for a parking token for the lot at the gym, I didn’t have any coins or change, so when he came up to my car, I flashed him my plastic and told him, “Sorry, I only have plastic.” He told me that I didn’t have to apologize & walked off to the next car in line. When I pulled up to the speaker, the guy had circled back from the end of the line. I asked him if I could buy him something to eat, and he said, “Yeah!”
“What do you want?” I asked him, proving that beggars CAN indeed sometimes be choosers.
“A burrito would be nice,” he answered, as he signalled that he’d wait for me at the other side of the drive-thru.
I ordered him a couple of burritos along with my meal and I paid for it with my credit card. Of course, the folks at Taco Hell screwed up my order, but I didn’t realize that when I got home. Anyway, I got to the end of the drive-thru where the guy was waiting anxiously for his burrito.
When I surprised him with two, he thanked me profusely, sprinkled in some “God Bless You”s and took the burritos for my hand.
I told him, “Stay warm tonight, ok?”
He went and ruined this happy story by saying, “I would if I were sleeping next to you in bed.”
Yuck. What the hell?!
I laughed it off, rolled up my window & drove away, but I was more than a little creeped out. Instead of a warm, fuzzy feeling for knowing that I fed someone for a night, I felt icky and wanted to take a shower to wash the scum off of me.
Maybe this is why I don’t like it when strangers talk to me.
I mean, I know I’m a weirdo magnet, but I really wish that I could’ve ended the story differently.