a meditation on expectations


it’s hot as balls outside today.

I live in a big city with lots of panhandlers, homeless, hitch-hikers and the general assortment of down-and-out-folks that big cities tend to either accumulate from suburbs kicking them out or produce when the factories that generations of people relied on for employment close.

Anyway, I was walking to work and saw a man on the side of the road with his German shepherd dog and a cardboard sign. I didn’t have any cash (because who the hell carries cash anymore?) but I felt bad for the guy who was purple from sunburn, and even worse for his furry friend. So I ducked into a nearby grocery store and got a couple cups of ice water for them.

As I patted myself on the back during my walk back over to them it never occurred to me that this gesture would go unappreciated. I know it’s not like I’m saving the guy’s life or anything… but as I mentioned, it’s hot as balls outside today.

As I approach, the guy looks annoyed. He’s not having a great day. I offer him the water and he waves it off, gesturing to a half-full water bottle lying on its side in the dirt “I’ve got water,” says he.

I tell him one of the cups I brought is for his dog – who looks miserable. He says “You got any cash?” I say no. He turns away so I set the cups of cold water down by the dog and walk away and immediately think “what an asshole.”

And why? ‘Cause some homeless guy didn’t kiss my ass for something he could have done himself, and because I assumed someone who made his dog bake in the sun would take care of it by giving the poor thing some ice-cubes to chew on. What dream world have I been living in? Honestly. Who’s the asshole in this situation? Probably the chick trying to help out, but still needing validation after the fact.

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