Paved with good intentions…

5 Mar

My parents were in town this last weekend, so we walked down to the Smithsonian to see an Annie Lebowitz exhibit at the American Art Museum. On our way, we swung into Five Guys to grab a burger for lunch.

The portions are huge, so although we’d only ordered a small fry, we ended up with (what appeared to be) an entire order left over. Rather than toss the food, we packaged it neatly with some ketchup, napkins and a dish of peanuts to give to a homeless person.

Nice thought, right? Turns out, it was better in theory.

The first homeless man we passed was peering into a garbage can when we spotted him. I approached and held out the bag, saying, “Would you like some french fries?”

He didn’t make eye contact and just turned his head away from me a hawked a loogey on the sidewalk in response.

I’ll take that as a no.

The next person I approached was a disheveled looking guy pacing around a newspaper box talking to himself. I walked up and was in the process of presenting the bag to him, about to open my mouth, when I noticed he had a bluetooth in his ear and was apparently on the phone.

I quickly retracted my arm, leaving him standing there, staring at me, no doubt wondering why I’d just come and waved my Five Guys bag in his face.

Remarkably, as we neared the entrance to the museum, I still hadn’t found anyone to give the food to. I eyed the trashcan nervously and scanned the benches flanking the steps.

BINGO. An elderly woman sat there, looking a bit out of it and decidedly homeless. She was the last possibility to keep those fries from going in the trashcan. I strode up to her and – as I got closer – I realized she had a full goatee.

And yet, as we made eye contact, I had my doubts. Was she homeless? Or did she just lack a razor? Confused, I simply set the bag of french fries on the bench next to her and — not wanting to offend her if she wasn’t homeless — simply said — [ready for this?] —

“You might want to check this out.” 

Um. WHAT?! What kind of approach was that? It totally sounded creepy. Like – “Go ahead. Open this. There’s some crazy shit in here.”

She gave me a puzzled, searching look and I hustled back to my parents. “Quick! Let’s get in the museum,” I urged them.

“Why?” my mom asked. “What did she say?”

“Nothing,” I told her. “But I’m worried she might not be homeless and she might throw those fries at us.”

My mom shook her head. “No way. She was definitely homeless. She didn’t have any teeth, Alison.”

And at this point, I’m pretty sure my dad – who had watched all this silently – interjected with all seriousness, “Then those peanuts might have been a bad inclusion.”


Next time? I’ll just buy a paper from the Street Sense vendor. At least now I know why they wear flourescent vests.

This has nothing to do with this post. Other than that it's about a peanut and it's hilarious. That's where the relevance ends.


20 Responses to “Paved with good intentions…”

  1. topiclessbar March 5, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

    Funny stuff. : )

  2. skippingstones March 5, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    Yeah, sometimes it’s hard to be nice. My mom and some co-workers once offered to buy a homeless woman some food, and she told them she wanted money. They didn’t want to give her booze money, so they offered again to buy her some food. She told them to give her money or F-off. So they F’d off.

    • pithypants March 6, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

      I suppose we all have some choices…. To f-off or not being one of them!

  3. dorkahontas March 5, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

    Oh my god, I love this post so much. “You might want to check this out” is my new favorite phrase. I am still laughing.

    • themiddlestsister March 6, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

      Me too. I had to read it aloud to my husband. Then I offered him by a cookie by placing it next to him on the couch and laughing, “You might want to check that out.”

      • pithypants March 6, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

        I’m going to copyright it. I think it has reality-show potential. Presenting strangers with items and suggesting they check them out.

    • pithypants March 6, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

      You’ll never post another infographic without that tagline, will you?

  4. Tin Roof Press March 6, 2012 at 4:18 am #

    this cracked me up. I can imagine just how awkward it might be. Also photo at the bottom – genius. Poster detail – your peanut and you made me smile

  5. John March 6, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    There was this homeless guy I used to see everyday when I walked to the bus station after work. Always begging for money. I never gave him money, but one day I stopped and said I’d buy him a sandwich and something to drink if he’d like. He snarled (yes, snarled) at me and said, “Just gimme the damn money instead.” I walked on.

    • pithypants March 6, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

      Oh, so now you’re all judgmental because he wanted the money to buy himself a suduko book? You think food is better than mental stimulation? C’mon! 😉

  6. thesinglecell March 6, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    Laughed. Out. Loud. At the “you might want to check this out” line. That is the super-awkwardest thing you possibly could have said. And for some reason, when I read it, I pictured my ex-bf saying it (good guy, good heart, randomly said weird things for fun). And then I laughed harder. Your intentions are wonderful, but you might want to solidify your approach for next time so YOU don’t wind up looking like the crazy one in the exchange. Nice.

    • pithypants March 6, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

      Totally. I think this confirms that I would be an awful drug dealer.

  7. kmurtagh March 6, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    I can exactly hear you saying “You might want to check this out.” Hilarious.

  8. squirrel circus March 7, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    Who would have thought it would be so hard to do a good deed? Hope she doesn’t have a peanut ALLERGY! Just kidding…I’m sure you didn’t kill her…..

  9. Melissa March 7, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    This explains the blog post I was reading earlier today by a guy who said he was trying to have a phone conversation and some strange woman approached him waving a bag at him. He thought she might have been homeless.

  10. societyred March 8, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    I really can’t stop laughing, this is so funny! Thank you!

  11. Joel Shilliday April 24, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    I notice you tagged this homeless, and humor. And that in itself made me smile.


  1. At least I come by it honestly. « pithypants - February 5, 2013

    […] now feel better about the time I kept trying to hand my left-overs to people who were not actually […]

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