Yes, We Have No Bananas

"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

Hebrews, 13:2

Yeah, I know - a bible quote coming from me probably scares the daylights out of you. As well it should.

It's a good quote though, and these days, more and more applicable. Matt and I have been in our house for three years now, and in that time, we have had more than a few strangers knock on our door and ask for help.

Why us? We're not sure. We tend to help when we can, and maybe our address got posted somewhere like back in hobo times. "For a good time...".

There was a woman who asked Matt for money to get a sandwich one day while he was out washing his car in front of the house. She secured some loose change, then pulled out a condom and asked if Matt wanted a "date". He declined stating I'd probably not appreciate it. What a gentleman.

One New Year's Eve, a woman came to the door with a story about her developmentally challenged grandbaby, food stamp delays and the need for a pair of socks. I gave her some money, some socks and a bottle of water. I kind of think if you're asking a stranger for used socks and water, you're probably in pretty bad shape. Maybe it's a scam, I don't know. If I hadn't been in the middle of cooking dinner- which, to show you how rough we have it, was filet mignon (granted, a gift - I don't actually buy filet), I'd have taken her to Kroger, bought her some milk, soup, bread, tuna, peanut butter and a bag of apples. And whatever else she needed. I have a soft spot for people going hungry; as plentiful as food is in America, and as fat as many of us are (myself especially), it's inexcusable that anyone not have access to basic nourishment.

Matt once gave a ride to a guy who was, in retrospect, kind of messed up on some kind of extra curricular chemicals who thanked Matt for getting him out of "that bad neighborhood". Since I was the one that gave Matt my keys and encouraged him to take the guy, I feel kind of sorry about that one.

We have neighbors who offer to do odd jobs for a little dough, and again, I'm down with that - we often enough have something that could be done better and faster if we delegate. Local economy and all.

Tonight, we had a repeat customer. Nice enough guy, but usually a story about a busted car part and the need for either cash or a ride to a pain-in-the-ass location (thus making cash a more convenient option). He's asked for our help before, and up til tonight, we've done what we could. This time Matt politely explained that we couldn't help him tonight and he went away.

I don't mind helping people out - not because I expect or even hope that they're angels, but because it's the right thing to do - and I think people should help other people out whenever they can. That should be human nature.

But at the same time, I'm wary. Which is also human nature. I mean, I don't doubt that this guy needs help of some kind - and I try not to be cynical and assume it's for something other than why he requested it. But Lola once again ate some money we had lying out (no kidding - I'll be curious to see how/if/when she passes it) so we quite honestly couldn't help him. Although we later considered telling him he could have whatever he could shake or squeeze out of Lola.

So entertain strangers, yes - but if for some reason you can't, don't feel like you're a bad person. And because not all strangers are angels, lock your doors at night.


Alex said…
With 2 of you living there, you have at least 2 bananas.