Women, it seems, do not ask for things from strangers, at least not as openly and as often as men do. My role thus far has been mainly to support (him) as he lends (his) helping hand. I did get to plate up some food for a guy (he) met last week. And since writing (his) last post, he has met another one of our neighbors here in the hood.
I worked a shift for (him) at Carlos this past Thursday evening. When I came home at about 11:30 PM (he) was on the porch with a man (he) introduced to me as Anthony. It was Anthony’s birthday and I’m pretty sure that Anthony spent most of his day drinking, and I’m thinking it wasn’t lemonade. We spent the next hour talking and getting to know our new friend. He had much to say. As it turns out, it wasn’t our first encounter with Anthony. Last Sunday night after spending time with friends we stood outside in the alley talking with one of (his) buddy’s for a bit. Across the street we watched two guys get pulled over… while walking. It was very interesting to me that you could be pulled over while walking down a sidewalk (never saw that on the north side). Anthony admitted that one of those men was him, however not the one who tried running because he had a warrant and was thrown down on the ground by three officers. (Yup, we watched the whole shebang.)
Anthony was very verbal about that night. It was interesting to hear the mentality of the people down here and to get some insight as to where they are coming from. Anthony insisted that we were good people and said that he would be back. Maybe Wednesday night (we haven’t seen him since), even though he said he’d be by to hang out with Stephen this morning. I figure, if not sooner, Anthony will be back by when he feels like asking for more money.
(He) made another mistake. (He) stinks at saying no. We talked afterward about the absolute necessity of setting boundaries. There are a lot of reasons we shouldn’t hand money out, including our safety.
It’s so hard to know people’s motives. And we want to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. And we certainly don’t want to be judging anyone. It’s just as difficult to know what boundaries need to be set, and to take action when they are being crossed. It’s easy to talk to our neighbors, most of them have been waiting for someone to listen. It’s knowing what role to take in the relationship that is more difficult.
I agree with (him). I want to help with real physical needs and not just hand out money. We could have done that from the suburbs. I want to really get to know people. And I look forward to the day when someone asks why we have so much hope in this life that seems so hopeless.