Thursday, July 21, 2011

toughen up

band aid for my soul?
I have not been feeling super awesome lately so I decided to venture out this evening to look for cheesecake because everyone knows that the best way to deal with your problems is to cover them in chocolate sauce or anything ending in "-cake." Yeah, turns out that theory is false.

Ended up in a shady little- emphasis on the word little - restaurant and ordered my cheesecake and chicken fingers (I'm like 5 years old) and while I waited for the food, the guy at the counter struck up conversation with me. We started with the weather, told him I'm from TX & here with the Nat'l Right to Life Academy, and then I opened a great can of emotional worms.
Side note: if you are a visual person, the man at the restaurant looked a lot like Tom McGowan who plays Ray's friend Bernie on "Everybody Loves Raymond." 

me: You know, I've been really shocked by the number of homeless people in D.C.
man: Oh, well they choose to be homeless, you know. I've been workin' here about 20 years and see the same people in the same places. They aren't out there trying to get jobs, but they're doing just fine for themselves.

He went on to tell me stories about homeless folks who have turned out to be frauds or have been found sleeping with huge rolls of cash in their hands and other shady stories. I'm not naive enough to think that everyone in the world is honest or that everyone living on the streets is truly in a desperate state of need, but I tend to try to give them the benefit of the doubt... but I hate finding out the sad & messed up stories. Sometimes I like to pretend that everyone is good and nice and stuff... but I'm not ignorant enough to believe it, just too emotionally exhausted to dwell on the bad things all the time. So, even after I got my food we kept chatting...

me: I've just gotten really upset lately having to see all the people on the streets, regardless of who is truly needy and who is scamming.
man: you know what, after living in the city for a while you just gotta learn to look the other way.

I HATE THAT, OKAY! I really didn't like that! This man honestly was pretty nice and seemed like he had good intentions, but, I'm sorry, looking the other way isn't going to make anyone's problems go away, sir. I just really thought that was a sad sentiment.

me: well, I'd rather be gypped by 5 people and help 1 person than not help anyone at all... ya know... it just makes me really sad lately having to pass them everywhere and not know what to do.
man: I know you're from Texas and you've got Christ on the front of your shirt, but you've gotta toughen up.
feeling so happy, omgah
I left pretty soon after that. As I walked away, the man yelled "Toughen up! You'll be fine!" but that didn't really offer me much comfort. I enjoyed the conversation, but it did leave me feeling kind of crappy and really sad. The man had some valid points and made me face some things that suck, but I probably needed to hear them. However, that doesn't mean I'm going to look the other way all the time. I've been talking to the other girls in the Academy about this a lot lately and we've all been pretty frustrated with knowing when to give to the "homeless" (I really hate using quotes on that...). It's so hard because you pass by them and you have like this tiny window to make this huge judgment and assessment of this person's life, situation, need, and the extent of their need.

where my dinner ended up.
Also, after weeks of speculation about a lady who begs in the metro station, we have "cracked that case" and know she is scamming. It's a long story, but the girls and I have been keeping track of all of our sightings of this woman and her accomplices and we've figured out that they are gypping people... honestly, like, I think they might be gypsies. Not sure if that is a politically correct thing to say or not, but it is what it is.

I wish people would just be real because the scammers out there are only further hurting those who are truly hurting already by causing skepticism towards people on the streets. I should probably stop thinking about this because it's making me frustrated even more.

Oh and to top it all off... the food from the restaurant was not enjoyable... not even the cheesecake.



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