A Story

Yesterday on my way home from work, I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a couple of things for a baking project I’m doing for work. When I parked, an older black man stopped in front of my car and started speaking. I couldn’t hear him, so I rolled down my window and asked him to repeat himself. It turns out he was homeless and was looking for someone to get him a bite to eat.

As I normally do with homeless people (we don’t live in New York City or anything, but we have a relative to scale homeless problem in the Wilmington/North Delaware area), I apologized profusely, saying I didn’t have any cash. The man thanked me and told me to have a good evening, and moved on to the next person. I saw him get rejected again, thought about it for a second, and realized I was about 20 yards away from a Boston Market. I figured it’s almost Thanksgiving (as if that’s some kind of qualifier), and I can spare 20 bucks for some food so it’s kind of gross for me not to, so I ran over to him and asked what his favorite thing to eat was. He told me he likes ribs.

As I was standing in line waiting for my turn to order, I contemplated what to get to go with the ribs. I had no idea what types of sides he might enjoy. My first thought was to go with mac & cheese and greens, because it seemed likely that he would enjoy both of those things. But then I started worrying that greens were too stereotypical for me, a white lady, or order this older black gentleman. Would he be offended that I automatically assumed he’d want greens and mac & cheese? Does he actually prefer stuffing? To be fair, I know a lot of black people, and I honest to god don’t think that I’ve ever met one black person that doesn’t like greens. Most white people like greens. Am I being racist, or just stupid? What has happened to our society that this is a concern that I have? Should I get him the most nutritious sides, since this might be the only good meal he gets in a while? Fuck, that would be kind of gross and condescending, huh? Should I get him water to keep him hydrated? Or should I get him something he’d enjoy more? Sprite? Coke? What if he doesn’t like those things? Seriously, Jessi? This is a homeless person. He’s probably not going to judge you for getting his order wrong. Still, I would feel terrible if he didn’t like whatever I ended up bringing him.

I ended up sticking with the mac & cheese, because really, who doesn’t like mac & cheese? Fuck him if he doesn’t like mac & cheese. And I ended up going with mashed potatoes for the second side, because I figured they’re filling and I honestly don’t think I’ve met more than maybe 3 people ever who don’t like mashed potatoes. And fuck those people, too. And I got him water, because water is good for you and I don’t know what kind of soda or whatever he likes. And I got him a piece of pecan pie, because Thanksgiving. And extra cornbread, because duh. Cornbread is delicious (actually, I don’t like cornbread very much…but the general consensus seems to be that it’s delicious).

Does Boston Market even have greens? I kind of think they don’t, now.

The moral of this story is: fuck me.





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