A Sip of Luxury

It’s been cold here. 

Very cold.

Like 20 degrees outside, cold. 

I dislike it a lot. But that’s not why I’m here.

Because I started a new job, I’m consuming now a dangerous amount of caffeine. I’m easily going through 4-5 cups of coffee a day. Not to mention energy drinks and pastry in between. Needless to say, I’m rather popular at our corner Starbucks now. Hobnobbing with Baristas, because they make the best friends, it’s the metropolitan girl’s dream. 

A Double Shot, Extra Hot, Skim White Chocolate Mocha with Whip.

My order. My perfect drink. 

It sends me into a bliss-filled caffeine dream. 

As I prepared to cross the street with my drink and cinnamon roll in hand, a homeless man stopped me and asked a question.

Do you have any change for a cup of coffee?

I was very quick to reply “No.” and the truth was, I didn’t. I’m not a cash-carrying girl. But I realized then the terrifying irony of sitting here bundled up with 2 scarves, 2 jackets and a hot cup of coffee while this man only asked for the bare minimum to warm up. Again, it’s damn cold. 

As I waited for the light to turn green, I made a choice. 

Instead of taking my drink back up to the office, I gave it to him. I sacrificed my perfect drink. I didn’t need it. There’s coffee in the office, and this is literally empty sugar calories in a cup. Things that someone who is cold like that…needs desperately. And if I could give him something that would make him feel special, then I should and would do that. I get this drink because it is expensive, because it does make me feel a bit luxurious. If I can share that with someone else, I think it’s my obligation as a human being to do so. 

The man was excited, said “God bless you.” and I went on my way thinking this drink may be a little sweet for him. I should have just let him order something he’d like. 

Now, I’m not a part of some “Pay it Forward” initiative. I’m in fact rather cynical to the homeless issue in urban areas. And I’m not on the other end of the spectrum that thinks poverty is a myth, but in cities like San Antonio where a homeless man has more resources at his disposal than some of the college students, I’m a little hardened to the idea of the helpless homeless. There is in fact a shelter or two very close to where we were. And the idea of charity has always been a little faceless to me. We’re told to give. And I do. But I’m suspicious of the perpetually youthful children in Africa and the blanket causes that line more wallets than they do shelters.

But in that moment, I decided giving of myself this way was easier. I hope he takes the energy and warmth from that drink to do something to change his life for the better. Visit a shelter, get the help he needs. Because I know he needs it. If my constant bellyaching is any indication of the drastic climate change here, I can’t imagine dealing with that and having no where to go. Despite my issues in my tiny apartment, it’s a roofed in place with a heater and food. And if he doesn’t, I don’t regret giving up my drink. I hope it warms his heart.

It warmed mine this morning.

Stay well, everyone. It’s cold outside. Take care of each other. We’re all in this madcap race called “life” together. Let’s act like it.

Sharing Gummy Bears With Strangers

Public transit is amazing. To think of how many people it brings together for the common goal of getting from Point A to Point B to me is mind-boggling. I really love it.

Now, that being said, I keep to myself. I’m a girl in the city. I know that the big city isn’t always the safest place. And I happen to be a bit of an introvert. I’m much happier listening to “The Killers” than I am striking up random conversation with people I never will meet again.

Today while waiting at the bus stop, I saw a man with a bag. A pouch of Gummy Bears to be precise. I noticed the obvious packaging and was immediately transported to a happier place. A place where Gummy Bears are a shared experience. Friends exchanged them as loving tokens. They connect people of all ages, races and faiths. Gummy Bears should be a part of our New Foreign Policy. Things would get done. Bottom line.

I wanted a Gummy Bear.

But I didn’t know this man. This man didn’t know me. We are not friends. We aren’t even acquaintances. I’m another passing face. One of many he’s encountered in the day. As he was to me.

There were two ways to handle this situation.

1) Ignore him and his tasty sweet confection.

2) Ask the stranger for some candy.

What could go wrong?

But then I paused. I couldn’t well ask a bizarre man for candy. He’d think I was a loony. And he very well could have done something terrible to those ursine figures of delight.  And my skepticism was well founded.

Now keep in mind, I’m a 90’s kid. The famed generation known for over-protective parents and an attitude about life that is…to put bluntly unique. We grew up based on the fear and paranoia our parents instilled in us. Danger was around every corner. Nothing was sacred. Everyone was a threat. Things, even nice looking things, can and will kill you. This is the age of razor blades in Halloween candy, after all.

But I don’t believe things were always like this. We millennials are a bit egocentric in that regard. We struggle to imagine a time before ours when you could accept something from a stranger and it not clearly be laced with something deadly or vile.

An apple given to you by a kind neighbor only a few years ago was accept with glad tidings. Not the item of immense speculation only to be discarded.

The moral of the story? Yea, obviously don’t take candy from strangers. And use some honest common sense. But not everything need be met with such great suspicion. Maybe good people really do exist. Honest people. People who wouldn’t want to cause you harm just for the sake of it. And not to say that there aren’t people out there that would. Yes, keep that in mind always. There are bad people out there. It’s a tragic reality of the human condition But this has made me consider some of my barriers.

What do I off the top of mind label as “suspicious” or “not trustworthy”.

If the man had only offered me a Gummy Bear…

Oh well, a girl can dream.