Why does it feel so good to give someone a dollar or two a few times a week? Why do I end up talking to them? Why does it feel good? Is it self-righteousness? Is it my programming? I was programmed to believe I deserved nothing. Then again, I don’t buy that anymore. I just feel good when I give. I feel good when I’ve been frugal enough with my money for the month that I can give.

I often wonder if the people I’m giving to have just as much as me – subsidized housing, Public Assistance, Disability, or some combination of public housing and benefits. What moves someone to sit or stand on the sidewalk and beg? I never begged. No wait – one time I asked someone for a swipe so I could get the train to work: when I was working, the money flew away from me before I knew what was happening. I wanted to get rid of it as fast as I could. I hated that job.

No, that’s not it. Yes, I hated my job. I needed to spend out of convenience, because what life didn’t take out of me, my job did. I needed to take a cab to the train because I injured my leg at work. I needed to spend money on medical care and medication, because I didn’t get insurance. I needed to buy food, because I didn’t qualify for food stamps. I ate and ate and ate so I could get to sleep; so I could forget how awful the day was and how awful the next day would be. I saw no way out. There wasn’t really any way out. I looked for jobs all the time.


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