A couple of days ago, TG and I were on our way to dinner at steubens and at one of many stop lights I noticed a woman standing on the corner. Her hair was slightly unkempt and she was dressed in clean but random mismatched clothing all of it more appropriate for winter than the mild Indian Summer eveing. What was most striking were her Platex Living Gloves. Remember those yellow gloves our mothers' wore to clean the oven? She was clutching a sign and the repetitive purple crayon scrawl only served to make the sign's message even more poignant: “Wishing For Chicken”. Found poetry.
She did not display the usual verbosity homeless people are prone: extolling the virtues of people who give their change; explaining how she had children at home or her veteran status; punctuated with the standard “god bless you“ closing. Just a simple wish for chicken. TG always gives money to homeless women so she called to the young woman who was surprised and hesitant to approach the car. TG extended a bill, asking her to use it for food. The girl, smiled a shy and woebegone smile, and without speaking she ducked her head in thanks. After we pulled away we mused over the reasons she didn’t or couldn’t speak. My supposition, she was mute. TG thought she was Russian and couldn‘t speak English. This was more than likely because of the large concentration of Russians in the neighborhood. We both agreed she wasn’t a drug addict or an alcoholic. Her skin was too clear, her eyes too clear and she didn't have that desperate dispossessed air about her. She was a lovely woman with soft gentle features and large blue eyes. I was positive she suffered from a mental illness because it was almost 80 degrees that evening; her sweater was heavy with long sleeves and she wore those gloves; which as an accessory would only make sense to a schizophrenic or someone with severe OCD. No matter what her reasons were for panhandling, she was concrete in her desire and was “Wishing for Chicken”.
A few times since Monday, I have wondered what would happen if I stood on a street corner with a sign displaying my most fervent wishes:
“Wishing for a MINI ”
“Wishing For More Retirement Income”
“Wishing for a personal chef”
These desires make me realize how vapid and ridiculous I am. All that I lack is a British car the size of tricked out motorcycle, cash, and Ina Garten on retainer? How lucky am I! In my life, chicken is just an order or a recipe away!
As one of those woo-woo types who believes the vibration or intent we put forth to the Universe will be brought back to us--like the teachings of Wayne Dyer or Abraham--I’m confident I’ll be driving a MINI and will retire comfortably. I am learning to live with the fact The Barefoot Contessa won't be leaving her posh life in the Hampton’s to cook for the four of us.
I am consistantly amazed and humbled by my own good fortune and the woman with her simple wish has crossed my mind often this week. I hope she enjoyed her chicken. Because I know it came to her. But just in case, I’ll drive by her corner tomorrow and see if her sign has changed. Hmmm...Kentucky Fried chicken sounds good for lunch tomorrow, I can pick some up while I’m running errands tomorrow. . .