from the terrace, midnight, fireworks over Central Park
This is one of Audrey's stories: She was at her desk, late but not late enough for the firm to pay for dinner. She was getting hungry enough to pay for it herself, but then she realized that by the time she ordered up something and it arrived, she could be finished and on her way home. She forced herself to concentrate, finally gave up and searched through her desk for food. And she found some: 6 little packages of saltines. She ate a few, finished her documents, threw her coat on and wrapped up, and headed for the bus. In the elevator, she realized that she'd tucked the rest of the saltines into her coat pocket, and as she walked over to her bus stop, she continued to nibble on them. As she was munching, a homeless person asked if she could give him any money to get something to eat. Chowing down on a mouthful of food, Audrey felt worse than guilty. She took the remaining packets of saltines out of her pocket and handed them to the homeless guy. "I don't have any change with me, but this should hold you till someone else comes along." The homeless guy stared at the saltines in amazement. "Thanks anyway, I was really thinking about a nice deli sandwich."
"Everyone has to have standards," Audrey concludes.
Recently local news media made much of a story about a police officer who passed a homeless guy on a cold night, went into a store and bought the guy a pair of boots. A news photographer just happened to be passing and got a shot of the cop kneeling down and holding out the boots. Follow-up reporting made much of the fact that the homeless guy did not hold on to the boots. They were sold or traded for something he wanted more. He explained that if he'd kept them, they'd only be stolen and he might get beaten up for them.
We have a lot of "first world problems" here. I resolve to try not to let them get to me. For the rest -- being kinder, thinner, thriftier, healthier, better organized -- well, those wishes are on same list as being taller and more stylish, and have about as much chance of coming true. I tell myself it's the wish that counts, it's the trying that counts. It's being the person who tries.
Happy New Year, dear friends and readers, here's one resolution I know I'll keep: the next time I want to buy a sweater that I know will pill, I will put the money into a poor box in a church or I'll sneak it into the charity box in a friend's kitchen. And I will try to keep my standards - of behavior, of expectations, of style - high.