It didn't upset me enough to consider switching political affiliations, but pretty darn close.
He, like roughly half the others on the street I'm solicited by on a daily basis as I navigate my way through midtown Manhattan, was a Give Not. And, like some of that demographic itself, he was showing great disdain that I'd decided at that moment to not hand him a dollar.
'I don't like you very much" was the only comment I received, as he looked me in the eye while I briskly walked past him in the rush hour sidewalk traffic down 8th Avenue. My first inclination, as is usual when presented with the opportunity, is to explain to him that he really should like me very much, because one of the reasons I get up every morning and grind out 60 hour work weeks is partly because I feel responsible to support myself while in this magnificent and magnificently expensive city, and partly because a rather high percentage of my paycheck is filtered through many local, state, and federal social services government offices who feel that I am equally responsible for supporting yourself, someone who has the unique opportunity to do nothing, if you should so choose, except to show contempt for those who, like myself, are supporting you.
But I didn't.
I simply realized that unlike one of my favorite expressions, a thousand shades of grey, the world is rather neatly divided, 50/50, I'd say, between the Gives and the Give Nots, and it was just part of my day that I'll run into an equal number of each between waking up each day and going back to bed, and I, as many of my political affiliation do, continue to vote to support him in his need for basic services, out of an overwhelming desire to see us as a compassionate people who fill our society, a desire to see everyone cared for. Even those who are disdainful of being cared for and don't like their sponsors, very much.
The Gives are just as easy to spot on the street. They're the entertainers or some version thereof, perhaps playing a harmonica rather badly yet the best they can and in some way which shows they are trying really hard, or performing a hip-hop routine with a couple of their buddies on the sidewalk or on the train, or selling those little snack-sized packages of Oreos and Cheezits for a dollar (the D-train dessert waiters, whom I respectfully refer to them as, always begin their pitch with "Good day ladies and gentleman, I'm [insert name here] and I attend [insert school name here] and I'm selling snacks to improve myself and save up enough money for [insert self improvement project here]"; or someone at an intersection singing just a bit off key, yet with such grace that you can't help but think - that's the most beautiful voice you've ever heard.
The Gives want you to know that they are glad to be there, glad to do something that day to make your world a little brighter, and any kindness shown to them in return is humbly received, but if not, then really, it's OK... and have a blessed day... and peace be with you.
The Gives always give now, and expect payment later.
The Give Nots always give never, and expect payment now.
I've never had a bad experience with a Give, and I've always given to them willingly. I've never had a good experience with a Give Not who throws attitude at and shows disdain for those who are helping them, although I still understand the importance of their contribution in my life. Maybe that contribution is nothing more than the purpose of showing me the difference between the two lives: those of the Gives and those of the Give Nots.
The workday world is pretty neatly divided 50/50, as well. It won't take much searching for people to survey their own work teams and see who's a Give, and who's a Give Not; who goes through their days as if they are happy to provide up front the employer
their services, and then the other workers, the Give Nots, who feel the employer owes them everything - in return for nothing.
And like in our society at large, and at most workplaces, there's pretty much no consequence for the entitled Give Nots to maintain their place. Because, just like in society, I discovered it's ingrained into most of today's workplaces - including estates of all sizes - that the Gives are there to not only support themselves, yet to make up the difference for the light-to-none performances of the Give Nots, as well.
Depending on your own perspective, this is either terribly unfair, or this is the world we've purposefully created - both in society at large and in the cultures of our workplaces - and it's who we are.
I'm not sure what causes people to grow up and live their life as a Give, or as a Give Not. Myself, I believe that I was heavily influenced by my father, who woke up every day, six or seven days each week, before sunrise, and spent very long hours on his feet, happy for the opportunity to help others. Many of those people he helped, they never paid him - many of those people he helped thought the world owed them everything for free, including my father's services.
Yet, he was still happy to live his life as he did. He was one of the Gives.
Who in your life has influenced you, in your own decision of how to live your life, as a Give... or as a Give Not?
That's what is interesting to me.
That's what I'd like to know about people.