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אןריadhdead's Blog

"its not easy having yourself a good time"
21 years old
United States
Last Login: 1616398761000
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no good deed-- pt 1

Today, while my partner and I were walking home from the liquor store, a young black man stopped us and asked if we could buy him a swisher. He told us that he was 28, but that because he was homeless and didn't have ID they wouldn't sell him one. We said sure, took the dollar he handed us, and bought him the swisher. As I give it to him, I wryly asked if he was going to roll a blunt. He said yes, and then he asked us if he we would give him a blanket if he shared his weed with us, telling us that the homeless shelter in town was closed for the next two weeks. Still masked, I replied that we couldn't share any weed because of COVID, but that we'd be happy to give him a blanket, anyway. He followed us back to our apartment, and we made some small talk. I gotta admit, at this point, I was feeling pretty good. Anarchist-type thoughts of practicing mutual aid were all abuzz in my head. Like, look at me, I'm performing direct action!

We stop at our house and he waits on the porch. It's about 45 degrees outside, cold enough that you can see your breath in the air when you exhale. When I step inside our heated apartment, I can feel my ears and cheeks turn pink as heat rushes into me. My stomach twists in knots. I want to let him in, but I'm worried about the pandemic. It's Shabbat, the holy day. I don't know if I believe in a higher power, but I believe in the words: “The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Lev.19:34). Well, Avery, I think. Here is a stranger. Keep your mask on. Put your spirituality where your mouth is.

I whisper to my partner if it's okay if we give him some of the dinner we were planning on cooking tonight (potatoes, vegetables, and curry, because we're poor, too) and let him eat it inside to warm up. He nods. I can tell he feels just as bad as me.

Still trying to keep some semblance of distance, I turn on the TV for him and head to our bedroom to fetch a blanket and some other supplies while my partner cooks. Along with a blanket, I put together a backpack of essentials, mostly the emergency supplies that we assembled earlier that year in case we had to evacuate from the wildfires-- face wipes, deodorant, a mini first-aid kit, some soap, a loofah, chapstick.

I hand him the backpack and he doesn't say much, but he's immediately excited about the miniature nail kit and the pair of socks I've included, and asks if he can trim his toenails and change his socks right now. I nod and direct him to the bathroom. He takes off his shoes, and I can see that his socks are dirty and full of holes. He doesn't smell great. My stomach gives another twist. I ask him if he'd like to take a hot shower while we finish cooking. "Yeah, that'd be okay," he says.

I want to say that throughout this exchange, he was 100% grateful, praising us with "G-d bless you"s and filling me with all sorts of warm feelings of charity and whatnot. In reality, it just felt awkward. When he spied the cat litter box (clean) in the bathroom, he asked, "Uh... are you gonna move the litter box?" (I did.) He ate about half of what we made, then asked if we had anything else to eat (I made him two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which he ate, one right after the other, along with a glass of milk). When he finished, he asked for dessert. When I told him we didn't have any, he said, "Are you sure?" When I handed him the backpack (plain black), he said it looked, "Kinda girly." Our small talk from earlier had run out. I felt strange, and eager to get him out of the house so I could clean.

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