Our unquenchable need for expedited results may ultimately be our downfall as individuals. Whoa, daunting first sentence, Mike. Yeah, I know, Mom (and whoever else is reading), but we’ve passed the point of no return, and I can’t figure out how to grab society by the shoulders and yell at it enough to get us back. And, as I always do here, I’m going to use a pair of hobos I observed this weekend to best convey my point.
Friday night, I was out with a buddy of mine. We needed to swing into a convenient store on our journey to greener pastures and, ultimately, crab cakes. While the experience inside the store was a tale in itself – one of the clerks was showing a resident drunk how he could kick him in the face – it was what took place on our way into the store that really caught my attention.
A homeless man sat outside begging (a homeless man outside a convenience store in Boston?! Why I never…), and I decided this was the time to act on something I always recognize as “the right thing to do,” but never actually follow through with (like giving up on America and moving to a part of the world that actually needs my help or like buying a third pair of pants). So I said, “Can I grab you something to eat?” The homeless man replied, “Nah, got a sandwich – could use some cigarettes though.” And, internally, I just lost it. You don’t want a bag of chips or a granola bar or something to stash away? How could you be so short-sighted and continue to survive on the streets?
My buddy ended up grabbing him his Marlboros and tossed them in his lap on the way out.
Saturday I found myself in the same part of town, this time in the middle of the day. I was gimping around after a steady 90-minute run around the Charles River, so I had ample time to take in my surroundings. And there I saw, huddled at the footstep of a vacated storefront, the most impressive sleeping bag I have ever seen occupied by a human being. It looked fresh, it looked warm, it looked like it could survive at least a handful of Nor’easters if need be. And to the hobo inside, I gave a tip of the cap and a smile.
In the story that took place in my head, that hobo had the same Marlboro opportunities as the former, and he chose life and the sleeping bag over months of redundant instant gratification.
And now here’s the drastic jumping point, where I could end up ranting for 1,000 words on things I can’t stand about humans (but instead I’m just going to end it here). Only the best of us are eyeing that sleeping bag. And guess what? Odds are very good that you’re not included in “the best of us” (I’m definitely not). You might recognize the sleeping bag is out there, but at the end of the day, you’re just ending up with a pack of Reds that you don’t even notice you’re ripping through because you’re moving so fast. For too many of us, the sleeping bag isn’t even a consideration – we can’t even imagine waiting for something to pay off when satisfaction is waiting for us around every other corner.