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guilt


I was walking down the street one evening, it was about 10:30, I was walking from my office to my car. I had to cross over the river to get to it, and I noticed a homeless man leaning against the railing, not looking over, but looking toward the sidewalk, holding a plastic cup in his hand. A 32-ounce cup, one of the ones you get at Taco Bell across the river. Plastic. Refillable.

Normally I don’t donate anything to homeless people, because usually they just spend the money on alcohol or cigarettes or cocaine or something, and I don’t want to help them with their habit. Besides, even if they do use my money for good food, my giving them money will only help them for a few hours, and I’d have to keep giving them money all of their life in order for them to survive. Once you’ve given money, donated something to them, then you’re bound to them, in a way, and you want to see that they’ll turn out okay. Besides, he should be working for a living, like me, leaving my office in the middle of the night, and not out asking for hand outs.

I’m getting off the subject here... Oh, yes, I was walking along the sidewalk on the side of the bridge, and the homeless man was there, you see, they know to stand on the sidewalks on the bridge because once you start walking on the bridge you have to walk up to them, and the entire time you’re made to feel guilty for having money and not giving them any. They even have some sort of set-up where certain people work certain bridges.

Well, wait, I’m doing it again... Well, I was walking there, but it wasn’t like I was going to lunch, which is the time I normally see this homeless man, because during lunch there is lots of light and lots of people around and lots of cars driving by and I’m not alone and I have somewhere to go and I don’t have the time to stop my conversation and think about him.

Well, anyway, I was walking toward him, step by step getting closer, and it was so dark and there were these spotlights that seemed to just beat down on me while I was walking. I felt like the whole world was watching me, but there was no one else around, no one except for that homeless man. And I got this really strange feeling, kind of in the pit of my stomach, and my knees were feeling a little weak, like every time I was bending my leg to take a step my knee would just give out and I might fall right there, on the sidewalk. I even started to feel a little dizzy while I was on the bridge, so I figured the best thing I could do was just get across the bridge as soon as possible.

I figured it had to be being on the bridge that made me feel that way, for I get a bit queasy when I’m near water. I don’t usually have that problem during lunch when I walk over the bridge and back again, but I figured that since I was alone I was able to think about all that water. With my knees feeling the way they were I was afraid I was going to fall into the water, so I had to get myself together and just march right across the bridge, head locked forward, looking at nothing around the sidewalk, nothing on the sidewalk, until I got to the other side.

And when I crossed, the light-headed feeling just kind of went away, and I still felt funny, but I felt better. I thought that was the funniest thing.



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