This is not Sarah. Sarah, it would seem, is spending time tonight with one of her best friends. The same friend she introduced you to earlier today – Procrastination. This was supposed to be post #2 for her today; the catch-up post due because she let a day go by recently without posting (she was spending time with the big P again at the time). But, because she has left it late, she is now without the wherewithal to write said post #2. And, so, you get me instead. Lucky you.
The question is, what do I write about? I was thinking through my day today. I started the day listening to CBC radio and an interview with an environmentalist who classified himself as a Hope-a-holic i.e. a person who is incessantly hopeful, no matter what the challenge. Obviously a scientist, because scientists like to classify things using very strange names, but a very positive and upbeat one at least (which is a bit like an oxymoron). It uplifed by spirits, nonetheless.
But then, later in the day, I see this homeless fellow. He is standing on a divider on Blanshard street at the corner of Finlayson. He has a sign. Tattered cardboard with printing in child-like letters: Out of Work: Can You Spare some Change. I am fourth in line in the turn lane. He is looking straight ahead, but I can sense he’s looking at me. Maybe it’s just my imagination. I debate with myself for a moment, then open up my console to look for change. Now he’s really looking at me, in an anticipating sort of way. A horn blares behind me. The light has turned. Flustered, I rush along so I don’t delay the people behind me who have better things to do with their time. As I pass, this fellow is looking straight ahead again, the face of one who is used to disappointment. Used to being let down by others. It’s easy, I think, to be a Hope-a-holic when you’re not needing to beg for your next meal.
Why didn’t I stop and find the change to help out this fellow human being? Tell the irritated people behind me to just fuck-off? But I didn’t, and this has stuck with me all day. I have allowed other peoples excess and self-involvement, and my own, to stand in the way of showing compassion. I could rationalize like we all do and say that the few cents I would’ve tossed into his hand may have contributed to his drug or alcohol addiction. But I also am left to think “what if”; what if that 50 cents offered hope to a man that had none; more than anything, offered him hope in his fellow man.
Why do I share this now? To unload it I guess. Will this make me a better person? I will act like a Hope-a-holic and say yes. I have to believe it will. But it is action that counts, not words. Just like this austerity thing this year. Talking about it doesn’t make it so.
Thanks for listening. I needed that.