Here is the first thing:
Last night I went to dinner with J (from the theatre, pictured here*) at The Meritage. She was a little later than me in getting there so I had a glass of Proseco at the bar. There were some extremely pretentious assholes at that bar discussing Broadway theatre (The Lion King) and oohing and ahhing over cheap South African wines. I was very pleased when J arrived and we started eating and drinking and being merry.
Our waiter was spectacular and all of the food was excellent. Here's what we had (start drooling.... NOW)
Braised rabbit with goat cheese and some other things
Cocoa-rubbed ostrich with wild ramps and potatoes
Crazy good pheasant with a crispy savory crunchy outside
Mushroom broth with truffles
Seared tuna with crunchy green beans
That was just the dinner part! All of the meals they serve come in big plates and small plates so we got lots of small plates for maximum tasting of everything. We also had a half bottle of Gewurztraminer and a half bottle of Zinfandel.
For dessert we shared the tasting platter which consisted of small portions of a coconut-fudgy thing, a tiny delicious nut pie, a berry-topped cheesecake, and a pear flan which made me temporarily lift my ban on flan. That's how good it was. Also, all of these confections were drizzled with delicious fruit sauces.
So. So. Good.
And now here is the other thing:
Every day when I drive to work I go past this corner in Harvard Square. For the last several months there has been this guy (who is not homeless - his cardboard sign indicates that he lives in a shelter). I do not like him. I know how crazy and stupid that sounds. But this dude has lots of different kinds of clothes and he bums cigarettes and seems really angry and kind of violent. When I give money or food to homeless people, which I do on occasion, I do not like to worry that they will punch me when I do. So, this guy is always there and he's always pissed off.
This morning when I drove in (I would have taken the T but I need to take home boxes for packing and I need to go grocery shopping for a very special weekend guest so that's why I had to drive you see) I stopped at the light of that same corner expecting to see the dude that I do not like. Instead, I saw a young-ish woman with a small sign that read "homeless and pregnant - anything helps". I immediately wanted to roll down my window and give her whatever cash I had except - I have zero cash in my bag right now. So, I sat at the light and wondered about the pissed off guy.
Right as I was thinking about him he showed up** on the opposite corner, eyeballing the pregnant girl and angrily raising and dropping his arms and muttering "whatthefuck?!" under his breath***. I worried about his instability and the girl's fragility****. He got closer to her, but then stopped, and seemed to be ok staying on the other side of the same corner. I was relieved, and the light changed, and I drove off.
Here's why these two things are kind of related:
With the money we spent on dinner last night, we could have fed these people for several days. I feel like something needs to change. I don't feel like I'm a terribly selfish, wasteful person, and I don't think it's wrong to go out for nice dinners, but I want things to be more equal between people. I am disturbed by the incongruity of my life in this community versus the lives of other people. So I guess that means I have to try to do something about it?
*J is not quite so blurry in person. Promise.
**I have this power to conjure people.
***I could read his lips.
****If she is, indeed, pregnant. I have no proof either way. But in any case, if you're begging in the street, I think it's safe to assume that you're having a very rough go of it.