Every couple of weeks I see a woman standing at the bottom of the highway exit ramp I take to get to work. She looks like she might be about my age, and she's always holding the same cardboard sign that says she's homeless and looking for help.
She may be homeless, or she may be a scam artist. I don't know. I make donations to several organizations that help homeless people, but I choose not to give individuals money when I see them on the street. For the first few months when I saw her I'd always find something to look at in my car when she passed by, but after awhile I decided that was silly and started acknowledging her.
Today she was in her spot. I happened to be the first car in the turn lane, and I looked over and gave her a little wave. She waved back. I realized I had a raggity fingernail, so I grabbed the emory board I keep in the car visor and started filing it, but I sensed the woman was still looking at me. I glanced over again, and saw that she was trying to get my attention.
I rolled down my window, hoping she wasn't going to ask me for money or food. She held up a large plastic cup that had seen much better days and told me that the fast food restaurant across the street had a water main break today and she hadn't been able to get any water.
I thanked her for the information, and told her to stay cool; it was going to be a hot day. She nodded, I nodded, then the light turned green and I moved on.
Five years ago today: New Thing #245--What Does It Mean?