Which Is More Important? Food or Love?
What Humans Want Most
As my husband and I headed across a parking lot to the car after breakfast at “The Egg and I” when when a young man bent under a backpack that says “Everything I own is in here” and a cheap Mexican factory pulled around his shoulder. He was shouting to himself.
To our surprise and dismay, the Egg and I had, that very day, re-opened as part of the “First Watch” chain. Dismay because the grand opening promotion included all-inclusive free dining and we were beyond the years when we could appreciate the joy.
Yep. The crowd was intense, restless, and noisy igniting us to escape to a spot for the older crowd. As we made it to the car, I remembered the young man in the blanket. He would probably enjoy having a chance to order anything and everything for free.
We launched a search of the huge convoluted parking lot.
We found him on a bench in front of Walmart shouting and rocking. Giant tears poured from his blue eyes and down his pale round face. I sat next to him, ripe with thinking I was such a good and wise person and about to make his day. (Now skip any thoughts on how I’m trying to be a good person or trying to look like a good person–you’ll miss the point. The strawberry pancakes and sausage took nothing out of my pocket. Nor is there any bravery involved since I’d worked at the state hospital and was accustomed to people arguing with themselves. He gave me a gift, however.) When I told the young man about the free breakfast, he said, “Thank you, but I’m not hungry. I have some money and I’m going to get some groceries in Walmart after I talk to myself a while.”
Me: “You’re sure you’re okay?”
Him: “I will be all right in a little while. In the hospital, I learned how to fix myself. How to talk to myself when my feelings are hurt. I’m just upset because this man . . . this really nice man gave me some French fries and I was so grateful –I stepped up to hug him and he pulled away from me! He backed up like there’s something wrong with me, like I am a bad person!”
Whoa. I’d assumed this young man only wanted money from others. I’d assumed he was too ‘crazy’ to make sense out of social situations. Instead, he had skills to manage his emotions and was when he approached strangers, he looking for connection and kindness like everyone else.
Now, When It Comes What Dogs Want . . .
From a pet magazine comes this silly advice: “Your dog can easily be taught not to beg at the table. . . Because your dog does not really want some of what’s on your plate. What he really craves is your attention. Therefore, when your dog paws your leg while you are eating, just reach down and pat him on the head. You’ll see that your attention was all he wanted.”
Right. He’ll be so satisfied, he’ll send a thank-you note and a pie.