At brunch this morning my buddy said he wished he could win the lottery so that he could solve his parents money problems and the problems of another mutual friend. I asked him if his parents would take monetary assistance from him and he replied "you've obviously never been poor."
This reminded me of a story from when I was poor. I was working two jobs at the time. It was a Sunday and I was just finishing up a shift at Brookline Booksmith and meeting my former boyfriend for dinner. It was Summer and we had decided to meet on the lawn in front of Cambridge City Hall. This way if one of us got there early we could sit on the nice green grass and read a book (this was pre-iPod) until the other one showed up.
So I was headed into Cambridge from Brookline. For a number of reasons (starting with I like to walk and ending with T service sucks on Sundays) I got off at Hynes Convention Center and walked into Cambridge instead of transferring from the Green Line to the Red Line.
As a result of my decision, I ran into a friend of mine (let's call him Harry.) Harry worked at the Middle East. When Harry came into a lot of money it was well known he'd get drunk, get others drunk and hand money around. I knew that Harry did this because he told me so himself. When I ran into Harry he was clearly well lubricated. He said "Oh Hey Doll--let me give you something because you have the internet at your house. Also--this is for your phone bill because you call Ryan* in California." I did try not to take his money, ("No Harry, thanks I can pay my phone bill.") but he made me feel like I was being rude not to take his cash, so I did.
I went to the green in front of Cambridge City Hall to wait for
the Boyfriend. I told him the whole story--was I wrong to take Harry's money? Could we put it in an envelope and leave it at the Middle East for him to collect when he sobered up?
He replied "I think Harry just bought us dinner because you have the Intranet."
And then we went to the Border Cafe and ordered catfish bites.
*A mutual friend who had moved from Cambridge to California