As my three year old would say, “I was havin’ a day.”
As in, everything I touched blew up, every word spoken was misinterpreted, every shoe lace was untied; you get the idea. Nothing went right. I was feeling rather sorry for myself, to be honest. As I wandered around the upper east side to kill some time before my tutoring session, I walked past a homeless artist trying to sell some of his wares for food. As like most Americans, I didn’t have any cash on me so I thought, in order to turn this day around, in order to make this not about me, I will use the money I allotted for my lunch and buy him a meal.
I always ALWAYS feel awkward giving people a meal. I hate when people hand me a tissue when I’m crying. Until I got used to his chivalry, I would always refuse Rich’s offer of his coat when I was cold. I don’t like to take help, but, I’ve never been so hungry I’d consider scavenging through trashcans. So, I sucked it up, bought a ham and cheese sandwich and a banana and trudged back outside to say hi and hand over the goods. And it went like this.
“Hey, I know you’re hungry ( pointing to sign that says, I’m HUNGRY) so I got you a sandwich.”
Hand over sandwich and fruit.
Man sniffs fruit, takes sandwich apart to reveal the interior.
“I don’t like cheese.”
Tries to hand sandwich, MY sandwich, the one I can’t eat now because he mauled it, back to me.
I’m sorry???????? What???????? Did you just take my lunch, the one that I was going to eat, roll it over in your hands, sniff it, and declare it was inedible because it has CHEESE on it?
Does your sign not say HUNGRY?!?!?!?!?!?!?
Did I miss the fine print where it displays your dietary restrictions?
I smiled, told him to pick it off, and walked away.
And it haunted me the rest of the day.
How often do I throw out the meat with the cheese?
How often do I miss out on nourishment, because of something that insignificantly offends my preferences?
How many times have I overlooked an opportunity for growth because it didn’t come in the package I was looking for?
I’m so glad Christ is not intolerant of my intolerance, as I am of homeless men and their lunch orders.
Next time, I’ll bring PB and J.
If he tells me about a nut allergy, though, I’m out.