Work | Life Wednesday—Wanting More
The Roll Out Continues
I've been committing to certain post themes on certain days, with the intent that it will organize me and my thoughts better, while potentially building an audience around those particular topics so you all only have to tune in on days you want (providing anyone tunes in to anything anymore).
That said, Wednesdays for me will be dedicated to work and general life experiences, something that has already been happening somewhat on Wednesdays already. I guess this makes it a tad bit more official.
I guess we'll also see if any of this day designating is a good idea or not, and whether or not it's one I can actually keep going for longer than a week.
With that, on with today's post.
My work takes me to all kinds of businesses, from bars and cannabis shops to pizza places and malls. It can seem like quite the spectrum, but I've been finding out that there are good people and not so good (at least behaved) to be found on either end of said spectrum, and all along the line. If nothing else, doing this work has been eye opening, or at least, it has validated some suspicions about people and human behavior while changing some others.
That said, I had an experience yesterday that reminded me of another I had weeks ago. Two different individuals, two different settings and circumstances. Completely unrelated, other than how they come together in my head. I'm going to attempt to draw some kind of parallel in what are otherwise two disparate occasions.
Wish me luck.
So, yesterday, I was sent to a cannabis shop to fill an ATM. After I was done, I decided to go around the corner to a CBD shop, to check on their ATM. It wasn't a scheduled stop, just me trying to be a little bit more proactive.
I parked the company van and got out. As I came into the driveway, I saw no one about, so I was a little startled when a man suddenly appeared from behind a large dumpster (the kind usually found on construction sites—the building has been undergoing some renovation). I have no way of knowing if he was or not, but he was dressed in a way that suggested he was homeless. He had a big smile on his face and he greeted me in a fashion that made it seem like we were long time friends.
I'm guessing you probably know what happened next. Before I realized what was happening, he asked if I had any money I could give him.
Well, the first thing out of my mouth was, "No, I don't." The fact was, I had money on me, and in the van, but none of it was mine. I don't normally carry my own cash. I use cards for nearly everything.
I don't think he believed me, or maybe that was the standard answer he got. I'm not entirely sure what he even said, but it amounted to something along the lines of please or simply asking again. Without thinking, my hand went into my back pocket and I grabbed some quarters to give him.
Now, those quarters are ones I rescue from coin jams. They're not mine. They were intended for the machine to play a game, so even though they really aren't counted as belonging to the company I work for, either, they eventually end up in a machine somewhere as I test games to make sure they're functioning properly.
So, it wasn't something I was supposed to be doing, but there I was, handing him a dollar in quarters.
As I did so, he gave me a couple of quick bows and said something about how I'd made his day or how happy he was because no one else had given him anything.
His enthusiasm for the money seemed genuine in the moment. I didn't know what to say. I nearly reached back for some more money before I realized what I was doing and managed to stop myself. It wasn't mine to give. I think he must have noticed it. He had already backed away several steps, but then he stopped, held out his hands and said, with a wide grin, "More?"
I smiled back, as if he had said something funny, and walked into the cannabis shop.
When I took a second to think about the exchange later, I realized his, "More?" with hands outstretched kind of soured what was otherwise a decent experience for me. I hadn't really intended to give him anything, but some dormant reflex took over. Even so, he still took the opportunity to ask for more.
As I mentioned earlier, it made me remember another experience. I was at a pizza place several miles from where I live. I was there collecting money. At this particular establishment, there are two crane games, one with small stuffed dolls or toys, and one with the larger kind.
A young boy (my guess is he was five, but he could have been as old as seven, maybe), was there, along with two adults who I gathered were his grandparents. As a typical young-in, he was more interested in the games than he was of his food, despite his grandparents' urging. I think he did manage to draw himself away from them long enough to down a slice or two, but he was pretty interested in the crane machine with the larger stuffed toys.
As it turned out, he had been working it, supplied by his grandparents' quarters, before I arrived. He wasn't able to get anything on his own while I was there, but he kept insisting to play anyway. His grandparents would tell him no, and when he continued to insist (it wasn't really whining or crying—he just wasn't taking no for an answer), they would go to the change machine, get more quarters, and then try to get something for him. I think they managed to grab a couple during the time I was collecting the other games around them.
He wanted to keep going, but finally, the grandparents essentially walked away, with him in tow. At that point, he was crying, because they wouldn't keep winning toys for him. It was then that I realized they had more than just the two dolls, but more like four or five.
One of the pizza employees saw him sobbing, saw how many toys he had and complimented him on his winnings. "Thank you," he managed to get out, but it was clear the number was not enough for him.
He wanted more, even though he had more than most people will get out of a crane game in a single setting. I don't know how much they spent in total, but I know there was at least three dollars that went into the game to get the two I saw. At that rate, for say five toys, they would have put in $7.50.
Not too bad a haul, I think.
The Point Of All This
I don't know enough of either the man asking for money or the young boy asking for more chances to win to make a judgment of either instance. I don't know how the man got to where he was, or what the future holds for the young boy. So, I won't speculate either way.
What came to mind, and what ties these two instances together for me has something to do with being happy with what you have. Now, that's probably a little easier to say to the young boy than it is to the man, given the circumstances, but I believe it is true in either instance, and applicable to many more cases.
That's not to say we should never want more. There is commonly another part to the bit about being happy with what you have. It goes something like, "Be content with what you have, but always strive to improve."
Admittedly, it can be tough to do. Keep striving to progress while being okay with where you're at. Especially, if you're homeless, or in some other dire straits. Maybe in those situations, being unhappy is better if it motivates or at least somehow causes things to change. Granted, some things are not easily changed or controlled. But most of us aren't living in an extreme situation either, where we are destitute and have no way of getting out of it.
Rather, I'm thinking materialistically. In the case of the boy, he wanted more even though I'm not even sure he wanted the dolls he had. It may have been just the thrill of the chance of winning, but it brought him to tears when inevitably it came to an end. Maybe it will serve as a lesson to be content with what he has, or to build up enough patience to wait to play another day.
As for the man, wanting more might actually get him fed, or maybe it would buy him something in the cannabis shop. Who knows. In the case of the former, wanting more would be a good thing. In the case of the latter, it depends on whether it meant he went without eating another day.
So, probably less about materialism and more about survival. Maybe wanting more in that case wasn't a bad thing.
I'm interested in knowing what you think about the two experiences and my conclusions. Let me know in the comments.