Today, as I was about to cross the street to get to the T in Brookline, an old woman on oxygen braced against a stoop railing stopped me to ask me if I was crossing the street. Strangely enough, I was, and when I shared that with her, she thrust out a handful of ones and asked that I go get her a pack of cigarettes. I demurred, saying, "I hadn’t planned on coming back." She responded with, "It wouldn’t kill you, you know..." "Yeah, I know. But hey look, there’s my train. Nice chatting with you."
Now, I know that everyone has their vices (even me, shocking as that seems...), but it strikes me as sad when you’re not able to satisfy those habits without involving otherwise disinterested bystanders. It begins to border on pathetic when the need for assistance appears to be the result of overindulgence in that same vice. Scenes like these just seem like people attempting to take advantage of the good nature of others. Had O2Woman asked me to run across the street for some milk, I probably would have taken the time to help her out. But for butts? I’d sooner assent to a random bag search on the T.