it snowed friday, and they closed the office. saturday... sunday. on monday it was a holiday, and on tuesday it snowed again. five days out of work, and now it's tuesday evening and what do i have to show for it.
we hung some small shelves, rigged up a pulley system for the bird feeder, and put together the drain for the outdoor sink. we worked out, went to the grocery, and took his sister to eat for her birthday. we drove up to the city to retrieve his hat. we sorted the mail. we did the laundry. we took his mom a piece of pie. we went to the dry cleaners and to walgreens and to get a smoothie.
just a mess of piddle. the only task of any substance that we accomplished was to give a sackful of krystals to a couple who were begging in the verge.
it was when we went to retrieve his hat, which he'd left behind when we were out last wednesday evening. exiting the parking lot from there, we saw a man and woman sitting on the culvert beside the intersection, and i asked, did he want to give them any money. he said, no, let's get them something to eat, let's get them some krystals. seemed like a good idea until we sat at the drive through window for like 20 minutes (what the hell, krystal??), but they sure were happy to get some warm food. they were all "bless you, bless you" and i was all trying not to actually touch them. i mean, they were REALLY dirty.
so it felt pretty good to do that, and we agreed we should do it more often. we talked about how a structure like welfare depersonalizes the transaction and opens it to decay into a place where the giver starts to resent it and the receiver starts to expect it. it's easy to feel animosity towards an anonymous stranger, to judge them as greedy or lazy or selfish or heartless.
we talked about how, even at publix where they are just trying to make it easy and to increase giving, they aren't really helping. we talked about how it used to be that you would pick out some canned goods and whatnot, and deliver them to the food pantry. then, it got to where you could pick out the food and drop it into a box there at publix, and then publix started having pre-loaded bags of food where you just picked that up and scanned it and dropped it in the box. now they have pictures of grouped food selections hanging by the cash register and if you want to give, you point to the grouping that looks good to you and they scan the appropriate bar code. it's easy, it's fast, it's accurate. no one has to separate the jumble of tuna from the mass of mac & cheese, and very few trips have to be made to the food pantry. all the jars of peanut butter are the same brand and same size and fit in the box just like they are supposed to.
the transaction is completely depersonalized, no one on either side ever has to each other, and no one is ever in danger of brushing someone else's hand.
so, anyway, we talked about that, and now it's tuesday evening.