Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Fork It Over

As I was walking home from school yesterday evening, I thought I heard a homeless man ask for a spare.

I turned, and, taking out the headphones which were blasting an audiobook of "The Portrait of a Lady," asked, "A spare what?" I had just been to the laundromat for quarters, so I actually had change to give, but what if he wanted, I don't know, a spare tire? A spare cigarette? A spare bedroom?

He shook his head. "Not a spare, a spoon. Do you have a spoon?"

Who carries a spoon around with them? I thought to myself. "No, sorry, I don't," I said. "But I do have a fork."

He considered for a moment and said, "Okay, that will do. Can I have your fork?"

I pulled it out of my backpack, handed it to him, and turned to go.

"Wait!" he said. "This is a nice metal fork. I can't take this."

I told him it was no problem, but he insisted. "I live in a hospital, and if I come home with this they'll think I've stolen it."

Oh. So I stopped and waited while he ate the last few ice cream bites of his root beer float and told me all about how the neighborhood has really gone downhill. When he was done he thanked me nicely, handed back the fork, and ambled off to who-knows-where.

And that, friends, is why I like living in a city.

8 comments:

Lizzie said...

Awesome, especially his not wanting to keep the fork. But wait--out there, don't all of the neighborhoods go downhill? Heh. :)

Expavesco said...

I wouldn't wish this on you, but the last time I saw a guy with a fork he was threatening me with it and demanding my watch.

Annie said...

at least we know it wasn't petra's fork.

Th. said...

.

Cuz that would be aiding and abetting.

Confuzzled said...

Are you really not going to mention why on earth you had a fork readily available? Please tell me you'd brought a lunch that required a fork to school at some point . . .

Annie said...

and was this fork clean?

eleka nahmen said...

Wow, your homeless people are so much nicer than my homeless people.

Petra said...

Confuzzled--
that's part of the fun; if I'm wondering why someone would have a spoon, why did I have a fork? But yes, it's because I had brought a fork to school for lunch one day, long ago, and had forgotten to take it out.

Annie--
Well, I never ended up using it to eat my lunch, so it was just about as clean as a fork could be that had been sitting in my backpack for several weeks. Personally, I'd eat off of it, but that's because I don't believe in germs.

Expavesco--
Have I ever told the story about how my dad got mugged at knife point...butter knife point? It's a good one.