During my lunch hour today I wanted to drop off a fountain pen for repair.
This meant a walk to Downtown Crossing in the shopping district, an area swarming with people today due to the warm spring-like weather.
The Bromfield Pen Shop is a place I have dreams about with all their pens, cool ink and exotic paper.
It’s the only place in Boston to take a sick pen; the patient of the day: a Mont Blanc fountain pen.
As I walked down Washington Street, grilled sausages, onions and red and green peppers assaulted my olfactory senses.
I was hungry. I had thoughts of mustard.
I was limited on time so I dropped off the pen and didn’t chance a look at the new inks that had undoubtedly come in.
I am a big-time sucker for creatively colored inks.
Thank my lucky stars I didn’t have the time to spend money I don’t have on inks I really don’t need.
And ink is sooooo cool.
You have no idea.
I left the pen shop and walked up Bromfield Street when I saw a sign for a tres cool sandwich shop. I walked in and saw a line longer than the bank on payday.
I would settle for a grilled chicken sandwich from Burger King. (yummy, right?)
I sat down to eat and noticed an older black man panhandling right outside the front door.
This guy was a bit different though.
He wasn’t asking for money, though he did hold a large BK cup in his hand.
I watched through the glass as he mouthed ‘hello’ and ‘have a nice day, now’ to the many people walking by.
He was polite and generally unobtrusive for a needy guy.
And he was needy.
He stood about my height (5’8”) and had on ratty clothes, the overall effect topped off with a weathered Boston Red Sox hat.
His toothless smile seemed almost innocuous. . . inviting.
You almost wanted to forgive him though he’d done no wrong, if that makes any sense.
As a rule, I don’t give money to street people.
I might offer a piece of fruit or a bottle of water if I have an extra.
I reached into my BK bag and took out an order of French Fries that I hadn’t ordered.
I brought them up to the register and told the woman that waited on me that I hadn’t ordered them. She waved her hand in a ‘no comprende’ way and said ‘keep them’.
I haven’t been eating fries lately and decided my windfall would be a snack for the man outside ‘working the street’.
I ate my lunch and continued to watch this man smile, say hello, give directions and take whatever this unblinking society would give him.
I finished my sandwich and grabbed the bag with the fries (still sufficiently hot) and left.
I walked up and handed him the bag and said, “Here, eat these. You do eat fries, don’t ya’?”
You would have thought I’d just given him a winning lottery ticket.
He smiled and said, “Bless you, my brother. Bless your heart.”
I walked across Tremont Street and through a warm, sunny Boston Common back to work, oddly happy to have been sincerely blessed.