I’m sitting in Starbucks at 5 A.M., when a young African American fella comes in with a filled up shopping cart. He doesn’t look homeless, but it’s clear he’s been trash picking all night…bottles, bags, a pair of scuffed shoes stacked neatly like tiny treasures.
He sits in the corner without buying anything, so I get up to ask if I may treat him to coffee.
He nods showing me he’s missing two of his front teeth.
I get him exactly what I have, a Veranda Venti, bringing it over. ” He says, “Do ya think I can have an ice-coffee instead?”
Now iced-coffee costs more, but I go to Brianna, the sweet barista, who kindly pours it over ice at no extra charge.
I sit for a spell, write a bit, before getting my refill to go, stopping at the milk and sugar bar. As I’m lacing my cup with enough sugar to launch, suddenly, there he is again, holding a ham and cheese panini.
“Can I have this?”
Now I’m annoyed. “No, I said, “coffee is the best I can do,” and it was since that left 78 cents on my Starbucks card. He goes to put to back, sulking like a Labrador I wouldn’t let swim.
Brianna, who’s watching, shakes her head. “See, ya can’t win. They always want more. Happens all day.”
Now if this was supposed to comfort me, it didn’t. Rather than feeling good about my spontaneous generosity, I was now berating myself. I heard my mother from the ethers say, “Oh Susannah, you could have fed that man…you have your Visa with you after all…how uncaring, how selfish, how cheap you are.”
So now I’m fuming feeling like Jack Benny who wouldn’t have bought God coffee, let alone an all-night shopper needing dental work.
So what’s a half asleep Thin Girl to do I ask you?
Excuse me while I change into my hair shirt.
If only Gucci made one in an extra small.