I’ve gotten so hard from living around here, and I wish I hadn’t. I went out yesterday to get some tissues and cold medicine, and there was this kid standing outside the Walgreen’s — dirty fingernails, but otherwise pretty clean. Mixed Asian kid with freckles, clearly gay. He started in with a long, convoluted, hard-luck story about how he was stranded with some other kids from his group home, and when I pressed him, he said “I’m not supposed to be here.” Then he said he was taken away from his parents and send to the home when he was 13 (I doubt Bucks County is sending their kids here) and finally, I just stopped him.
“Look, every drug addict in this neighborhood has some story like yours, and it’s always very smooth and polished, and I just don’t believe you,” I said. He started to cry.
I explained that I had my own problems, and he needed to take responsibility for his. “You weren’t supposed to come here, right? Now you’re trying to make it my responsibility to help you. Sorry,” I said.
The funny thing is, not five minutes before, I gave money to a homeless guy who was standing in the intersection, begging for change. I didn’t think twice about it; I guess I just figured, “At least this guy’s really working for it.” Because it was cold, and pouring down rain.
I don’t feel the compassion anymore, and it really bothers me. I’d like to get back to that.