Sorry, I’m busy

Driving home from work, I pass a grassy intersection that almost always has a disheveled person holding a cardboard sign with a crudely written request for help.  When the light turns red and forces me to stop there, I roll up my windows and nervously stare straight ahead avoiding eye contact with the man or woman.   Usually it is just one man, the same bearded man in dirty clothes with a collection of bags and a plastic cup for donations.  Sometimes he sits in a daze with the sign on his knees not even trying to catch anyone’s attention. Other days, he walks along the edge of the road, peering into the faces of the people in traffic, alternating between pleading and demanding for help.  I drive by him so often that I now expect him at that corner.  When he’s not there, I wonder if he’s dead or in jail.  Then I drive on when the light turns green, on with the rest of my day and life.  His sign says, “Anything helps” but I can’t even give him the decency to look him in the eyes, which I imagine to be grey and sad. 

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