Do good and tell no one

The name Chris recurs throughout my life, with various spellings and incarnations. Same with Sean/Shawn/Shaun.

Lots of other S names, too. Which I was reminded of after a series of good deeds done after I set my intention to help someone every day. (My tribute to Bob Dole, or at least the Bob Dole before he endorsed TFG.)

Someone was making a fuss online recently about how excited they are to donate their gaudy shit to the homeless. As if they haven’t suffered enough. They still have taste, you know.

It reminded me of someone else who would do something for the homeless on the regular. Which I know about because it was broadcast over Twitter, Facebook, blogs, podcasts and probably tattooed to carrier pigeons. To the point where the broadcasting it seemed to take more time than the doing it.

In any event, my rule has always been “Do good and tell no one.”

But what I will do is talk about one of the gentlemen I met this week.

He said his name is Christopher St. John.

There was another name after it. He really wanted me to know that he was somebody. That he IS somebody.

His blue eyes sparkled in the too-hot Florida sun. He said he prayed for an angel to come to him, and there I was.

He told me his vision was failing him, but he said he liked my blonde hair and multicolor sequin mask.

I could tell he was a charmer, even lying on the ground on a makeshift bed behind my gas station.

Christopher said he’s 51. Which I would never have guessed from his broken hip and long beard.

I felt the lump in my throat. I’m 47, healthy and a success by any measure.

How could our lives go do differently? What choices did I make … or did I have … that set me on a course that put me in the position of benevolent goddess?

He asked me for nothing but a little time, but I tried to do more.

And I realized something about myself, which is that I am good at throwing money at problems. Giving time and effort, I can and should work on.

I found myself in a similar position today, because God loves to give us do-overs on things we cannot stop screwing up.

I’m always on my way somewhere. Always rushing to get back to something frankly I don’t really want to do. But today I tried to give some thought and care.

It didn’t feel like enough. It’s never enough. And I’m not going to sit here and bleat into the universe how awesome I am that I even tried.

It’s not enough. It’s the holidays … it’s the human thing to do … OF COURSE we should take care of each other. But holidays end and humanity is unfortunately finite. And our social systems suck ass so you HAVE to look out for your community. No one else will.

Then there’s the skeptic in me who is worried that someone is going to come up from behind me while I’m distracted.

I always have a hand on my phone. It’s five generations old but it’s still a sign of wealth. It’s also the only way I can call for help from emergency response systems I don’t even believe in.

It’s hard to give someone your full attention, even for 10 minutes. And then I think well, fuck, if I’m worried about MY safety, what the fuck are THEY going through 24/7 out in the elements with all the animals on four and two feet?

Christopher’s face still haunts me. He’s 51. He should be an eligible bachelor with a degree and a sports car and a junior penthouse and a couple girlfriends who swoon over his piercing gaze.

Not getting in fights and not being able to reach his walker because his hip is broken and his friend had to leave him in a heap for a while.

I don’t think our heroine returns to the scene. Or maybe she does. We don’t know yet. One-off help and companionship is one thing. Investing time and effort is much harder. Stuff means nothing when basic needs aren’t being met.

I’m sure someone could write a wonderful story about cleaning up our friends and transforming them into some “She’s All That” protagonist.

My boss and I had a long talk yesterday where he said I know you’d rather be writing than directing.

I was equally impressed that he knew that as I was nervous. Like, oh shit, do I really suck at the directing as much as I think I suck at the writing, so much so that I hide from it?

Or does he know, as I do, that this is the time to DO … so the writing is better later?

I wonder if I didn’t just give myself some answer or at least some permission to do something I have been subconsciously seeking.

Whatever happens next, I’ll tell you this: You won’t hear about it from me.

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