On the way to Blockbuster tonight, we stopped at a gas station, so J could get some ciggies, and there was this guy sitting there in front of the store, with his duffle bag and his dog. I've seen him sitting there before several times when we've gone by that store. He's a tall, blonde guy with a little beard, maybe in his late 30's or early 40's, and he doesn't look malnourished, so he somehow manages to eat, but he just sits there in front of the store on a milk crate, with his dog sleeping at his feet. J went in to get his cigs, and I sat there, parked pretty much right in front of the guy, and he kind of averted his eyes, I guess so as not to seem like he was staring at me or something, and I felt bad for the guy. I had about 3.00 on me in cash, and I felt like I should offer to give him some money, or buy him a cup of coffee.. something! It's pretty cold out there tonight. But I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to insult the guy, because he wasn't panhandling or anything, and maybe he would be embarrassed or insulted because I offered him a handout. I sat there going back and forth in my head about it, and was just about to say screw it, and risk going out to give him some money or offer him some coffee, and J came out of the store and quickly got in the car, and I told him I wanted to give the guy something, and he zoomed away and said there's a Salvation Army right up the street, let him go there. I had visions of Ebenezer Scrooge flash through my mind.." Are there no work houses? Are there no prisons?" Then I was pissed at him.
J: "I feel sorry for the dog, but not for the guy. He's probably an alcoholic and would just use the money to buy booze or crack or something. He should get a job. He should put the poor dog in the pound, so it would at least have a home.
Me: "He doesn't look like an alcoholic or anything. That doesn't necessarily mean he isn't, but he could possibly be a decent, normal human being, who just happens to be without a place to live" "Maybe he's homeless *because of* the dog. Maybe he can't afford a place that will let him keep the dog, so rather than give up his puppy, he took to the streets, so he could keep his dog. It's not unheard of.
J: "If that's true, he's an asshole, because if that was me, I'd get rid of the dog in a heartbeat, rather than live on the streets for the damn dog.
Me: "That's because some people understand the concept of love and loyalty, and that the love and loyalty you get from your dog is worth sacrificing for, to some people".
Now, I feel bad, and I wish I had taken the risk and gotten out of my nice warm car, to offer the guy something, and risk embarrassing myself and/or him, in order to try and bring some comfort to someone who may need it. Next time I go by there, if he's sitting out there, I know I won't hesitate to offer.