Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hands and Feet Day 1: Fishing at Fountain Square

Today was the first day of an idea that will take me 30 days to complete. In a nutshell, my task is to perform at least on act of kindness for someone else at least one time a day, and the act must push me outside of my comfort zone.

Sunday, August 8th:

I piled the kids in the car, and we hit the road with no idea where to go. Thought about going to Newport on the Levy, and then to Kenwood Mall ... but finally decided to just keep driving. We drove through Price Hill, passing my first apartment, and ended up downtown, where we sort of just drove around some more. At some point I said barely loud enough to hear, "God, I'm yours. Tell me where to go."

I think we passed a prostitute at one point. Or else, an asian lady (I think "a lady") just made a strangely-serious effort to make and maintain really, really intense eye contact with me as I drove by. Oh, and she was dressed like a prostitute.

Sort of felt weird in that I was "fishing" for someone to serve. We drove around and around downtown, me looking for a bite. Someone to do something kind for. Must admit that this did make me look at people differently.

We ended up parking the car under Fountain Square, and my plan was to put Riley in the stroller, and she, Ethan (who was dressed like Spiderman) and I would walk around until I found someone that I could do something nice for.

Because I was fishing, meaning I was on a sort of a mission to find someone that needed something that I could provide, my experience of walking around downtown was different than normal. I talked to people I normally wouldn't. Made eye contact with lots, and lots of people. More than usual. Maybe I'm a prostitute.

Was fishing for an opportunity to be "Hands and Feet," so I felt a different rhythm to the walking around. Wasn't simply going from point A to point B ... or accomplishing task 4 on a list of 10 "to-dos." Because I was on this fishing mission without a real firm idea of where to look, we explored places that we normally wouldn't. Walked around some of the floors of the hotel. Sort of "got lost" while having fun playing on the elevators. Searched around what's left of the "Sky Walk."

At one point, I realized that I was exploring downtown with Spiderman, me with a pink and cream diaper bag over my shoulder.

Right before giving up and heading to another location, we decided to wander away from Fountain Square and toward the bus terminal, which is where we met *Colorado*.

A middle-aged (although it's hard to tell) woman was sitting on the ground, back against a building. We walked by, and I made the point to stop (which I normally wouldn't do) and say "Hi, how are you?" She looked up, smiled, and said "Oh, I'm doing OK I guess," but she said it while sort of looking around as if she knew her answer wasn't really true, or as if she was looking for someone else who was in worse shape than she was so it could be relatively true.

She was eating what looked like lasagna on a small, white, styrofoam plate.

To my question of "how are you," she finally responded with, "well, I'm trying to get back to Colorado, .... I really like your city, ... and I'm trying to panhandle enough to get back, ... but I only ever make enough money to last me the day."

This was her asking me for money. I wondered if her Lasagna was warm, and if it was, where she warmed it up.

I gave her some money. Five bucks. Noticed how tall and thin she was when she unfolded to grab the money from my hand.

She then said, "I'm looking for a church or an organization that can maybe help me get home."

I told her about "City Gospel Mission." She asked me if this is the church that I go to.

Not sure which: if the money or the pointing to the church was more valuable to her, but they were equally easy for me. Felt like it wasn't enough.

She remarked how pretty my little girl in the Spiderman costume was. I thanked her, and said that she's a boy. Colorado sort of apologized and said that people sometime mistake her for a man too.

She commented on my daughter in the stroller, saying how beautiful she was, adding "you must have a very pretty wife," to which I replied, "yes, I am blessed."

This made me feel uncomfortable. Here I am, money in my pocket, a job, cars, exploring the city with Spiderman, ... a house, family, etc. getting compliments from a homeless lady from Colorado. Wow. Don't think I've done anything to deserve my blessings, have I? Wonder if *Colorado* has done anything to deserve her seeming lack-of-blessings?

We said our goodbyes and headed to the parking garage.

Ethan wanted ice-cream, and I was thirsty, so we stopped at Graeters. Spent $6.40 on two scoops of chocolate and a diet coke. Threw one of the scoops away.

Makes me uncomfortable that I spent more on treats that I gave Colorado.

... one other thing that struck me was that she, Colorado, had the most beautifully sky-blue eyes that you could imagine. Reminded me of my son's eyes, ... Spiderman's eyes.

29 days to go.