The morning started with rain and this kind of damp heat that wraps around you like a sticky gel. We went to the market for cherries and some other fancy food stuff for the deluge of summer visitors currently in the air and on bicycle on their way to our suburbia hideout.
Next, we sat down for a coffee outside the French bakery and as we were about to leave, we noticed a very disheveled barefoot young woman with many bags, rooting through her pockets. There was a thick streak of dried blood on the back of her pants and so I walked up to her. Are you ok? I asked while I started to collect all the change I had in my pockets ready to hand it to her. Actually, would you go in and get me something? she asked. Sure, I said, what would you like? Get me two large latte with soy milk, a bag of croissants, two waffles with jam and one with Swiss cheese, also one, no make that two of the extra large walnut baguettes. Oh, and would you also pay my tab from last week, that's why I cannot go in myself. For a moment, I was dumbfounded, I must admit. We looked at each other, she grinned at me. I pulled out a bank note, topped the change with it, handed her the money and said, you should have enough here to get breakfast yourself.
I walked up to the library to calm my thoughts holding books and smelling print and later walked through the posh area home, looking up at the high windows of the old villas, into their manicured gardens with e-cars charging from wall boxes on the driveways.
One of my oldest friends is a social worker. She has worked on the streets of our city for the last 30 years. We do have accommodation in this city for all of the strays, she assures me. Not luxury, not even comfort, but a bed, a shower, food, advice. The very basics. It's not our place to assume what people should need. If you feel the need to help, give money, not food, and if it's used for drugs, allow them that choice. Women are more vulnerable than men, always remember that. The world is cruel, you can only do so much.
A while ago, my daughter urged me to do the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test, a personality assessment that is often used by big organizations and companies as part of their recruitment processes. Of course, I checked the science behind it, I am that kind of a mean person and no, there is no scientific basis, it's been called a fad, pseudoscience like horoscopes over and over, it' been retested and assessed with new statistics and analysis methods, but it's still just a fad. I did it anyway and once again 24 hours later, to check for reliable reproduction of results etc., and the personality I was twice identified as based on my answers is the woman who handed over her money this morning.