Saturday, December 25, 2004

Three Things I Pray

Yes, I've invoked Godspell. I hope we're all recovering nicely from the shock of suddenly remembered bellbottoms.

Yesterday, just after 8 a.m., an elderly man of my acquaintance knocked at my door. I used to be his bartender sometimes, so I know he has no family. We live in the same building. He asked if I had "a can of beans or something" because it'd been so cold out he couldn't walk over to the store and he had nothing to eat. I started pulling cans out of my cabinets, just because that was what he asked for, but decided that was ridiculous. I'd spent the night before cooking pots of the braised chicken that is my family's ethnic identity on a plate. Instead of canned soup, I gave him a plump chicken breast and some vegetables. He never answered me when I asked if he had a way to heat it, but he went away with some very kind words.

On the one hand, I was horrified that I didn't know which apartment was his, and that I had never found a way to ask if he wanted anything before I went grocery shopping. I could have been clever about this and asked the super before now, so I felt rather horrified that I hadn't realized this gentleman needed help. On the other hand, I was very glad he felt he could come to me and did.

All in all, it was a remarkable experience. I can't imagine how I'm going to find him today without just knocking on doors downstairs until someone points me in the right direction. I don't want to bother anybody - in real life, I'm very shy. I mean, it's Christmas Day, and the stores are closed. What's he going to eat if I don't work up the nerve to find him?


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