“There’s a homeless man over there. Why don’t you give him money?”
I’ve never been a believer that giving people cash on the streets helps them in any way. I believe it’s the Chinese proverb that states: “Give a man a fish; he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish; he’ll eat the rest of his life.” I live by that at work a lot, trying not to boss people around but instead teaching them how to do all the stuff they ask me to do. You know why they ask me to do the stuff? Nobody ever taught them how to do it! So that’s my role now as someone who wants people to help themselves. And that’s the same mindset I bring into the equation regarding homeless people. I don’t know them. I don’t know why they’re homeless. It could be a foreclosed house due to health care or it could be irresponsible surrender of money to cocaine resulting in deserved consequences. Because I don’t know their story, I can’t be certain that if I give a person money, it will go towards anything useful. Let’s say I give a guy five dollars for lunch. He buys lunch. Now that five dollars is gone, and he’s back to the exact same place he started; he needs five more dollars! And he’ll continue to need five more dollars until he dies.
I grew up in a relatively middle-class household. I say that, negligent of how far in debt my family actually is. That’s really unfortunate, because I’d say that debt is connected to deserved consequences to some degree. It’s one thing if we’re in debt due to lots and lots of doctor bills due to unforeseen circumstances. But that is not the case. I can somewhat empathize with homeless people in this respect – not all of them chose to be homeless, in a matter of speaking. While it’s true that many people don’t have their priorities in order, I would say it is also true that nobody deserves to be homeless. Consider the fact that there are a lot of assholes who have homes – doesn’t make them any less of an asshole. I’ve noticed that there are lots of stereotypes that go into describing homeless people – they will be dirty and unkempt. They will always beg. They will be considered inhumane. I hate that social view of homeless people, because the only thing that makes them homeless is the fact that they do not have a home. Their circumstances shouldn’t define their humanity though; they are just as human, if not more human, than most of us. They are grounded in an unfortunate reality wherein the only way out is to rely on someone else. That’s why they beg; and I understand that. Regardless, giving a beggar cash is still not the way to go if you ask me. I’d instead offer food or direct them to a shelter. There’s a reason homeless charities exist; donate to those. At least that way I would know that my money is actually being used for the right thing (you know, after the research is done to determine that said charities actually follow through with their promises). I will always acknowledge homeless people because they are just as human as the rest of us with homes, even if I admit to not always knowing how to respond to them. There have even been cases wherein I’ve allowed myself to get scammed by beggars. That’s something for me to work on, because despite how good some homeless people might actually be, there are equally as many people out there who just want to take advantage of tourists’ assumed naivete.
“Your new supervisor doesn’t quite understand how to maximize efficiency. Why don’t you say something?
I don’t know – perhaps I don’t want to come off as bossy. It’s troubling when a new guy comes in without a proper training schedule because it means that somebody has to work with the new guy while also tending to his or her duties. That means double the work for nothing in return except lots of hassle and unnecessary stress. Not only did we get a new guy, but he’s my new supervisor. And he’s relatively young too – just a few years older than me. He doesn’t quite understand the concepts of maximizing efficiency though, instead just going with the flow without taking into account the need for everyone to be on the same page. We’re not on the same page. But the problem isn’t with him; it’s with me.
The new guy is still learning how to do his job, whereas I’m established enough to where I know how to maximize efficiency. So to answer the question of why I don’t do anything about it when it matters most, I suppose I have a character flaw when it comes to assertiveness. I often come off as an asshole because I’m very blunt about everything, but that can be a problem when I need to build a relationship with my supervisor. We need to work together – it can’t be a partisan situation in which I’m saying “You’re wrong; I’m right” and he hate me. It’s something I need to work on though, because by not taking control of the situation I’ve not only pissed customers off due to longer wait times, but I’ve also made my life needlessly harder.
“You know your family just wants what is best for you. Why do you tell them off or act disinterested in their opinions?”
I ask myself that all the time. And what I’ve come to realize is that the answer is more simple than I initially built it to be. Growing up in a household wherein my parents had very different ideas on what they wanted for me, it was difficult for me to grasp an understanding as to whose opinion was “right,” in a matter of speaking. One parent told me it’s okay to cry; the other said it was not. Little things like that have stuck with me growing up, which made it more difficult for me to take what either of them said too seriously. Granted, as I’ve grown up I have learned to think for myself and take what they say with a grain of salt. But that’s not to say that their opinions have had a lasting impact on me over the years; after all, I grew up surrounded by them! If anything, I think that has made me more intelligent in a way. By being presented with different opinions about everything, I have been given the opportunity to take both and form my own. That’s what I’ve done. But in regards to why I tell my parents off a lot of the time, that’s a very different topic.
What I’ve realized over the years is that both my parents, despite wanting what’s best for me, had very different motivations in regards to how and why they raised me the way in which they did. Despite their differences, they tried to agree when it was convenient even if that meant giving up some sort of truth. I’ve only recently been able to pick up on the reality that when it comes to their thought process, they are very much the same. That’s probably why they argue so much; it is opposites that attract, isn’t it? I think that’s why I tend to resent their involvement with my life; they act interested in it but their actions suggest that their only interest is in proving each other wrong. I can’t respect that. After living with that kind of behavior for literally my entire life, it’s hard to break from that given things haven’t changed. So when it comes to making decisions in my life, I do tend to keep to myself because I have found that talking about them stirs up conversation among my family members wherein there is a lot of disagreement. That’s probably what I dislike most about growing up in a tight-knitted family (you know, aside from the obvious element of seclusion). I don’t have a problem talking about my life with them, though. It’s the fake pretenses I refuse to get involved with because it’s not about me; it’s about them. Though, considering I’m already knowledgeable of this dynamic, perhaps I should consider being more open even if I don’t intend to fully heed what they wish to tell me. After all, I’m still the one who makes the decisions. At least this way everybody will be happy.
This blog was written as a pre-cursor to my 2016 year review, coming in a few days.
I love you, but your attitude is like that of a shrew. Your options? Take a pill or be my kill. Might I suggest that you wear a vest. Perish in class or be banished to the land of bluegrass, where dreams don't exist as you'll be eternally pissed.
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