Wednesday, August 23, 2006

It's Official ... I'm Out of Compassion

Yes true believers, it's finally happened. The bed wetting liberal has finally reached his limit of compassion. It's a sad state of affairs and to an extent I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. But I think I have just hit that brick wall that sociologists has termed compassion fatigue.

It really hit me yesterday morning. I spent the weekend with another damn cold and I had to take Monday off so that I fulfill my lifelong dream of filling Kleenex with snot. So Tuesday I'm on my way to work and as per the standard in the South, it's as hot and sticky as Paris Hilton's thong after a night out. I was in the last throes of a nasty cold which always seems to hit me when the weather is at its worst and the air in the ATL is as thick as pea soup. Breathing is pretty much a chore on these days. And to top it off, I have to walk about 7 blocks from the parking lot to work which leaves me sweating like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

On my way in, a homeless guy starts to bug me for change. I'm already feeling like shit and the hour and a half ride to get downtown is already just too much. So I tell him I'm sorry that I don't have any and start to walk away. Then he asks me if I'm sure that I don't have any change. Once again, I reiterate that I don't have any. Herein lies the rub.

The problem is that this isn't a once a month or even once a week occurrence. Nope. This is getting to be a twice daily assualt as I walk from to and from work. I consider myself compassionate, but if I gave change everytime I was asked, I'd seriously be broke.

I hate to think I'm not compassionate which would make me feel guilty as all get up. Hell, I'm Catholic; I've got nothing but guilt. Everytime I throw away a bite of food I remember all too well the Catholic school nuns telling us that whenever we "wasted" food, the angels in heaven cried. So now everytime I don't polish off that last bite of an ill-gotten Big Mac, the choir of angels are bawling and I'm to blame.

BUT how much is enough already? I know I'm only human but I've actually gotten to the point to where if I have money in my wallet that I really need but don't give to that guy sitting on the front steps of the church smelling like 3 days of urine that has dried in the sun, I actually feel bad. AM I crazy or just Catholic?


P.S. The pic is one I've taken with my new digital camera. Actually, this lady is always nice and never bugs anyone. She always says hi and wishes you well when you walk by.

16 comments:

Brookelina said...

I get this everyday too. There is a woman who "works" for the homeless shelter on the corner of the major intersection that I pass through on my way to work each day. Her job is to harass drivers for money. She will stand there and stare at you until you tell her no, and then she will make a comment like "Thanks for helping!" Now, I have given money in the past. Her attitude alone makes me refuse to give her money now and in the future. Besides the fact that I am a schoolteacher driving a nine year old car working in a school for underpriviledged kids, I just don't feel that I am obligated to give money every single day!

Rant over. Thank you.

Brookelina said...

To clarify, the homeless shelter is not on the corner. I don't know where it is. The corner is her "turf."

A. Estella Sassypants said...

I hear ya! I used to work in downtown Dallas, and it's impossible to help everyone and when they're dicks about it I get indignant. Human nature and all.

grins said...

This is why I drive to work. Of course that means I have people trying to wash my windows for a fee though.

NML said...

You've developed a numbness. I know a lot of people whom this has happened to. I'm sure you'll 'defrost' soon :-)

DCNats said...

if you gave up your change everytime someone asked and pretty soon you'd be the one asking for change.

JHD said...

I used to get it all the time walking from the garage to work when I worked in Cincy.

My solution was to mail a donation to the homeless shelter or soup kitchen. I knew that I was helping, probably way more than if I just gave any change to the people in my face. It made me feel less guilty.

Lindsay said...

dude, I swear I get hit up at least 2-3 times a day for money. I work near Union Station, and as soon as I step out onto the sidewalk I have people bombarding me for money. I feel really guilty, too, when I'm walking by with my lunch in hand and just shake my head, thinking to myself "God, Lindsay, you've become such an asshole." And even in my own, quiet (when there aren't any shootings, that is) little neighborhood I'll be taking a walk and get hit up for money by people with a cellphone hanging around their neck. WTF? I blame DC for turning me into an asshole. Although I will admit to giving money to a lot of the babushkas I come across in the former USSR. I guess studying about how the economic collapse of the former USSR was basically worse than our own great depression made me into a sucker with a fistful of rubles.

Also, I literally laughed out loud when I read "as hot and sticky as Paris Hilton's thong after a night out". Nice use of simile there!

Cincysundevil said...

Brooke-
I loved that you used the word "turf". It sounds like one of those cheesy 80's movies like "Tuff Turf"

Cincysundevil said...

Andi-
Some people want help only on their terms ... which kinda defeats the point of help.

Cincysundevil said...

Grins-
At least your car is clean everyday!

Cincysundevil said...

NML-
I'm sure my Latin blood will melt the frost at some point!

Cincysundevil said...

DcNats-
I hear ya! That might be my new scam .. running around in a suit and tie soliciting money for a new dot com business since my last one went under.

Cincysundevil said...

JHD-
I'm too lazy to work in a soup kitchen. I did work at a food bank that one time with you though!

Cincysundevil said...

Lindsay-
The babushkas almost certainly needed the money more than most American homeless need the money. So no guilt for you!

Cincysundevil said...

Lindsay-
Let's face it ... Paris Hilton's underwear is a joke since it's not on long enough to warrant wearing it.