Jeff and I grabbed some coffee after our bike ride. The day was beautiful though cold and windy and while we cut short the ride at just about 11 miles, we rewarded ourselves with coffee. We sat outside a VERY BROOKLYN coffee shop (Small. Tin ceiling. Hip art. A glass chandelier. A boors head mounted on the wall. Lots of wood and brass and young beautiful people behind the counter not overly concerned about appearing friendly or helpful) near our bikes, clad in our cycling gear. My iPhone sat on the table, face down, as to not invite distraction. While we were in deep conversation about our respective neurosis or our friends neurosis or the latest episode of “Orphan Black” a woman approached and asked “spare a dollar?” I gave a weak smile and said, “Sorry, I can’t.” Jeff remained silent. She raised an eyebrow and said in our direction but not really at me, “can’t afford it huh?” before walking into the shop.
“Her sneakers are more expensive than mine,” I offered to Jeff. She was dressed in nice clean khakis, a somewhat expensive looking black top, her back-pack seemed new and not cheap and she was wearing pristine Nike Basketball Shoes. Had she been bedraggled, clearly destitute, I’d like to think I would have pried my wallet from my bike shorts and found a dollar in there. I had one, I just paid for a coffee and bagel with cash – and had perhaps $4 in my wallet. And I normally don’t think twice about giving someone money on the street, on the subway. Sometimes I figure a dollar is an easy way to help. But this time I didn’t. This time I decided this person didn’t need my dollar, despite their inquiry suggesting otherwise. Maybe I’m not as generous as I’d like to be.