Sunday, 10 April 2011


When I wrote my last post I felt this blog needed an indefinitely long break. I had a mind to suspend it permanently (or until I turn 25, whichever comes first). But I had an experience this morning which I feel compelled to share.

I was on my way home and stopped at Dunkin Donuts for coffee. A man outside the store offered to sell me a copy of the Boston Globe. I declined, but then when I stepped out of the shop with my coffee, he and I started talking.

He told me his name was Ed. I gave him my Starbucks name, the one that just about anyone can pronounce regardless of their ethnic and linguistic origins. Ed told me that he had had a long day, but he didn't mind because his new boss had given him a chance to earn some extra money.

Up until last November, Ed used to work over in Brookline. He had another boss at that time and he didn't like the way she treated him. She had a habit of taking 80% of the commission they made from selling papers. "She took advantage of being a woman," he complained, "it wasn't fair." But he made a habit of showing up regularly for work anyway. And he told me that's why he was able to get this new job, with a new boss, right near by where he lives.

The job opened up because his predecessor died of cirrhosis. Ed shook his head sadly as he told me what happened. "He was 62. Too much alcohol, that stuff will kill you." I nodded a little self-consciously as he went on. "I've been sober for two years now." He certainly seemed sober.

It was half past ten on a Sunday morning. Ed explained that he had been standing there since 530am with his new boss, the one he likes. A little while earlier the boss had left him with all the unsold papers, saying "These are all yours. If you sell them all, you can keep all the commission." Ed was grateful for his boss' honest generosity.

If he sold all the papers, Ed stood to make seven dollars.

We talked for a couple of more minutes, about how it was such a nice sunny day, about how I was new in the neighborhood, about nothing at all. Then I went home, still marveling at Ed and his enthusiasm at the chance he'd been given to earn a little extra money on a sunny Sunday morning.

Later in the day I took the Zen Mistress out for a walk. I thought about Ed and I kicked myself. I should have just bought all of his unsold newspapers and sent him home. Opportunity lost, and I feel humbled and ashamed.

I can only hope that Ed didn't have to stand outside that Dunkin Donuts for too much longer. And I am thankful to him for reminding me that we may be imperfect creatures living imperfect lives but we can still find something to be grateful for.


Anonymous said...

Until I read the second last para, I was hoping you'll buy all the newspapers and send him home, but you let me down... never mind!! you'll get another opportunity but watch out next time.

Anonymous said...

And no you're not terminating this blog... pls!!!