Monday, January 5, 2015

Taking Advantage

I've been taken advantage of. I admit it. I've said before that crazy follows me like a shadow but crazy has a little brother it drags with it everywhere. Needy. I have been taken advantage of many times through the years and I know it. I'm not an easy touch and have no problem saying no when I am sure that I'm being played. Sometimes I'm not so sure. I learned that years ago living in LA where panhandling is constant. A young woman who seemed in genuine need to me, but who could have been a junkie asked for some money in a store parking lot. I took a chance and gave what I have. I saw her buy milk and take it to a child waiting in a car. I wished then I had more to give and came to understand that it would be better to be taken for a few dollars in my life than to miss the chance to help.

Today I took a break. Actually my grandson, who lives with me, was being loud so I had to get out of the house. I returned a library book and picked up a couple of new books then went to McDonald's to drink iced tea and read. I ended up getting two chicken sandwiches and reading longer. A man came in not dressed for the cold. He was deaf and tried talking to a few people that moved him on. I knew what was coming.

It is my experience that genuine need shows through. Panhandlers are generally practiced at their pitch. People in sudden need have no background in asking strangers for help. I had no cash so I took him up to the counter and ordered some food. While there he kept pointing to the double quarter-pounder value meal and holding up two fingers. I go to McDonalds because it is all I can afford and I can't afford the big value meals. I pointed to the dollar menu. He pointed to a picture of fries and held up his hands one over the other and opened them wide. Large. I held up two fingers close together. Small.

In the end he didn't get what he wanted but I was not left with the feeling of having walked out on someone in need. I still spend more on him that I have on myself in quite a while and there is the risk that I was taken advantage of. Still, every once in a while I do it and know for sure.

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