imaginary conversation with beggar in wheelchair


There’s a guy in a wheelchair who hangs out in front of New Seasons, begging for a living. He’s there every day, and I think things may be going better for him. He has new glasses and he’s pretty cleaned up and generally looking healthier than before and he has a little dog now. It’s a really cute little dog.

Every time I go there, he asks me for money on my way out. It’s really bumming me out. The thing is, I don’t give money to individuals begging on the streets. I just don’t do it. I don’t think it’s helpful, and I choose to give to my church and to IOCC, an Orthodox charity which happens to have a very high rating in terms of the lowest overhead for charities.

So every time I go shopping, I’m placed in the awkward position of having to say “no” to someone. Every single time. I really don’t like to say “no” to people. I like to say “yes.”

So here it is, my imaginary conversation with this wheelchair-bound beggar:

“Hi there, I couldn’t help but notice that every time I shop here at New Seasons, you ask me if I can give you some money. And maybe you have noticed that I always say no.

So look, here’s the deal. I’m always going to say no, because I don’t give money to individuals, but rather, to  charitable organizations. However, I always feel uncomfortable saying no to you, and I don’t want to do that thing where I have to walk in another direction just to avoid you. So, this is what I propose: when you see me, instead of asking me if I have any spare change, you say, “hi, how you doing today?” and I say, “great, how about you?” and we have a pleasant little conversation. What do you think?”

I told my friend, Lisa, about this guy and my imaginary conversation, and she said, “oh my God, that is just so you – ‘o.k. look, here’s the deal.'”

And now you know why that’s the name of my blog.

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About Leila

I am a wife and mother. I am an Orthodox Christian. I am a Syrian American with family living in Syria. I am a also a yoga teacher and freelance writer. I recently described myself in a job pitch as "a person who's lived in Portland, Oregon for over 20 years with a passion for writing and a passion for all things Portland. I'm a foodie, knitter, wine and beer lover, bee-keeper (yep, I said it), mead and fruit-liqueur maker, organic gardener, home-canner, hiker, biker, runner, and occasional skinny-dipper. I’ve camped all over the state, I sail a sailboat that’s moored on the Columbia (o.k., I'm the first mate), and I spend a large percentage of my time at our beach house in Seaside." That about sums it up.
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