Over the last two or three days evenings have been fairly chilly in West Hollywood. Sometimes they can actually be brutal. The damp air sinks into your bones, and suddenly you’re shuddering. I’ve sampled some winter weather in Northern Florida and Georgia, and it can be somewhat similar.
Anyway it was around 9 pm on Wednesday, 3.10 (the night before last) when a guy in a slightly soiled white shirt knocked on the door. Older, swarthy, a bit heavy-set and speaking with a thick-as-peanut-butter Mumbai accent. I couldn’t decipher what he was saying. After the third or fourth attempt I finally understood that he was asking if we could spare a blanket. I couldn’t think of one off the top of my head so I said “I’m sorry, but we don’t.”
Five seconds after he left Tatiana asked “do you have a heart?” and pointed out that we could’ve given him a large ugly beach towel she keeps in her closet — an item I’d blanked on. I grabbed the towel and went outside to find the guy. Gone.
I’ve been feeling funny about this ever since. I can’t remember the last time a homeless guy knocked on my door and stood on my welcome mat with a plea — possibly never. He wasn’t exuding any kind of aggressive undercurrents or hair-trigger vibes, but I suppose I was feeling vaguely threatened on some level. The poor guy was simply concerned about his ability to weather the cold.
My reply, as noted, was partly due to his tortured English. If he’d sounded like Ben Kingsley (or even like Kingsley as Don Logan) and said “pardon me for asking in the dead of night but would you happen to have a spare something or other?”, I probably would’ve asked him to wait while I searched around.
So I failed my Good Samaritan test. I wish I could do it over again. I actually could’ve spared one of the chilly weather jackets I have in my closet but never wear. I’m sorry.