When my grandfather died, I was given the task of taking his bikes to donate to Good Will.
I was a senior in high school at the time, working a shithole mall job making something like $5.12 an hour (I also will never enjoy Christmas music again thanks to that job). So I didn't have much money of my own, but I also hated asking my parents for money because I'm too proud sometimes. Needless to say, I became a bit of a second-hand aficionado, and was not in the least impressed by my local Good Will.
I didn't need the bikes myself and didn't know of anyone who did, and Craigslist wasn't around yet to my knowledge, so I gave up and headed to my grandfather's house to pick the bikes up for donation.
But wait! On my way there, a wild homeless man appeared! (Let's name him Pojo.)
He looked tired and limpy, and his boots looked well-traveled. I was giddy just thinking about how excited he'd be to have one of these bikes. And maybe he had some hobo homies he could give the other two bikes to!
I pulled over to him and asked him, "Hey, would you by chance need a bike or three? I was gonna take them to Good Will but I'd rather give them directly to someone who needs them."
Pojo: (He was old and had that permanent grump face that old people tend to have) Umm. (He was sort of panting.) Yeah, sure, I'll take em. You got em with you, ma'am?
k8: No I was just on my way to pick them up. Will you be around here? I'll go get them now and bring them to you. Or I can drop them off anywhere you want.
Pojo: No ma'am, I don't have anywhere to be in particular. I'll sit here on this curb till you come back.
Cool! He calls young girls ma'am, what a charmer! So I went to pick up the bikes, super proud of myself for helping out an old needy fella. I grabbed him a bottle of water too because it was a hot day and he was looking a little shrivelled.
He was waiting right where I left him, looking like a grump face still. I pulled over again and hopped out to open the truck gate. I pulled a bike out for him and he hopped on right away. He must have been seriously tired of walking, I thought! I started to take the other bikes off when I realized, how the hell was he going to carry around 3 bikes with him? He can barely carry himself.
k8: Are you sure you don't want me to drive these somewhere for you?
Pojo: Actually ma'am, that'd be nice of you. Thanks so much, ma'am. I work right down the road about half a mile, how bout I follow you on this bike and you drop the other two at the gates right there?
k8: *poker face*
You sonofabitch, you're not homeless?!
I gave him the bikes anyway. I still didn't need them, and the chances of me finding three actual homeless people randomly walking the streets that day were slim, so what the hell. I'm pretty sure he probably scrapped them at the scrap yard like 50 feet away from where I dropped them off, which is a genius idea now that I think about it. But maybe he used that money to buy his granddaughter a new barbie or something. Or hell, even if he bought himself a bottle of whiskey, I'm happy I made him happy a few hours. I guess.
On a related note, and possibly the thing that triggered this memory... November is over and now that we're all done giving thanks, it's time to focus on just giving! I used to loathe December and Christmas time because it felt like a chore and an obligation. I don't even believe in Jesus, so what the hell was I doing celebrating Christmas, or its bullshit commercial replacement? (more on that some other time)
I think it was the year Violet was born that I pulled my head out of my ass and grasped the real reason for the season. People don't give presents because they have to, they give them because they love you and they want you to know it, and because they enjoy doing something for you, and because they want you to know your presence in their life is appreciated. It feels really good to hear a genuine "thank you" from someone.
I've gotten really good at taking thankses (it's a real word) from strangers. For some reason it's a lot easier to do a good deed for a homeless man or an old lady in a parking lot. I'm still working on letting non-strangers know I'm actually a nice person. I think I'm afraid they'll make fun of me if they find out I'm not really a huge douche.
So that's something I'll be attempting to work on this Thankstaking month! Be prepared for unusual acts of kindness, glowing compliments, just-because visits, and heartfelt homemade Xmas gifts. Assholes. (off to a good start)