I was on the train sometime earlier this week. This huge Latin dude with long , shaggy black hair and burlap sacks as clothing came into our car. If you’re a New Yorker, homeless people on the train asking for assistance is nothing new. I see people all over the car go into their “omg its a homeless dude” routine. Some fake sleep (the extremely fly white girl 10 seats away) , or suddenly pretend their reading material is SUPER interesting. He was really loud and usually this annoys me; I was at ease that day for some reason. By the time he comes over to me , I dig in my pocket for change. As soon as I reach into my jacket , I remembered I have a bag of Lays(PRODUCT PLACEMENT) Potato Chips in my pocket. I felt guilty for even having the chips , as I’m a fake healthy young goon. I nervously croak out to him “hey…hey…I have some chips! You want em?” “That’ll work!”. I hand the bag to him and he takes it graciously and ambles further down the aisle. He comes back and plops down noisily in the seat across from me. I noticed an older Jamaican woman in nurse garb look at him like he was the ASSIEST of assholes as he POPPED the bag open. She kept staring as he chewed. I moved on from the scene.
He eventually gets off. A well dressed older white dude take his seat. This whole scene and experience kinda touched me. The train is the great equalizer. Everyone from the established(or those who look it) to people who don’t know where they’re sleeping tonight…all in one place. We all have somewhere to go; coincidence(destiny?) put us on the same route.
Really , seeing the homeless dude and giving him the chips reminded of an experience I had in 2011. I was fresh out of college , on the way to my internship at Power 105. I was BROKE as shit and relatively miserable. I was glad to have the opportunity to be in the building with all of those talented people, but I had no job. They were doing well ; I was struggling. There’s almost always a person with a cart with food on it on my train. They start explaining their doing it for anyone in need and they’ll appreciate donations etc etc. I didn’t really pay attention. Next thing I know? The person with the cart rolls up to me and offers me food DIRECTLY. Just me. No one else.
I was SUPER embarrassed and I never get embarrassed. All I felt was anger. I quickly said “Nah , I’m good” and then had to refuse again ; they kept pushing the sandwiches and snacks on me. I hid how i really felt and somehow stayed respectful. I could feel other people’s stares ; I felt even dumber. I didn’t need food but something about my energy bought that person to me.
I was definitely in need ; I had no money but that wasn’t what I was really lacking. I needed hope. I needed signs that chasing the dream was “right”. I didn’t get it that night or even that month. I don’t fully have that now. I’d like to believe I’m on the right path but I don’t have much to show for it yet.
So I’ll just have to ride along until my stop arrives.
I got lost in New York. This happens all the time. Then my phone battery was on its last legs (don’t charge your 4S on an iPad charger folks). Luckily , I knew where the hell I was going. Just needed to find an L train stop and continue my shopping trip.
I somehow recognized where to go immediately and excitedly crossed the street. I got to the middle and my heart just sank.
I didn’t care about these things I bought. I needed all of them to varying degrees. But it suddenly meant nothing to me. I almost gave up on the last leg of my shopping in Brooklyn (I was coming from downtown Manhattan).
I kinda felt like….is this it? Money and shit I can buy? I won’t lie to you; buying clothes and such fills me with satisfaction at times. Possessions are cool but I felt….empty. Almost “guilty” when I shouldn’t feel guilty. But perhaps there are better places to spend my money?
But in reality it’s not even about the money. If life has taught me anything it’s taught me that everything is cyclical. You will have surplus ; you’ll have nothing. The thing is it always comes back around. I’ve been BROKE , waiting for those super measly Student Government exec board checks to appear. I’ve also been UP and bought all sorts of dumb shit with not a care in the world. I’m never irresponsible with money ; I just know at times you will have it and at other times you won’t.
Growing up as someone who had whatever I wanted…it kind of worked in the reverse for me. I wasn’t “spoiled”. I can appreciate the material. I just don’t feel its necessary nor am I moved by it. My goals have never really been about “how much money can I make/how many kicks can I buy/can I cover my entire forearm in watches?” All of that shit is fleeting. Love and appreciation from those around you and doing what you can to help is far more valuable to me. Always has been. I think I need to “help” more and offer more of myself to the universe.
Id like to touch a few lives and theres no gadget or silly trinket that can do that. It starts with me.