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Bumming Rides

2007-12-31

Category: philosophies

At what point did it become acceptable to try to bum rides off one's neighbor? I don't mean important rides, like your car just broke down before a doctor's appointment. I mean like a ride to the gas station at one o'clock in the morning to get some smokes.

My new neighbors seem like a nice enough couple of gals; they smile politely and keep to themselves. In this particular building, those are good qualities. However, one of them has a boyfriend who seems like a mooch. Tonight was the third time he has asked for a ride.

The ride he wanted this night was to a near by gas station. The only one that is open at this time of night is about half a mile away. The temperatures are in the mid-twenties (Fahrenheit) and there is little wind and no precipitation. I've walked far longer distances than that in far worse weather. In fact, earlier this month I walked three miles in freezing temperatures and strong winds after dropping my car off for service one night.

Of course he has also asked if I could spare some money for food. He said he hadn't eaten all day. I assume from this that his girlfriend won't feed him. He said he has relatives over in Marion (the next town over) but they won't feed him either.

From what he tells me, he is unemployed. He moved to the area from Chicago, which means that he may be a terrorist. I don't understand why he would have trouble finding work; the United States Marine Corps is usually hiring.

You may wonder why I might be so callous to the plight of a young man who finds himself in a strange city. Well, it's based on my own experiences that show a fellow can do quite a bit by making an effort on his own without begging from strangers. For years, I walked to work and back. With one job, if I caught the last bus to downtown, I only had to walk two and a half miles home. If I didn't catch that bus, it was the full seven miles. That lasted from summer heat to winter cold.

I'm also not very sympathetic to people who have only gone a day with no food. My own record is ten days and that isn't much compared to some people in the world. The Cedar Rapids area has kitchens to feed the hungry and an assortment of programs to help the down trodden. Of course, this fellow seems less down trodden than just inclined to get underfoot.

We must have a negative stigma attached to such behaviors. As a society, we must realize that peer pressure can be used for good as well as bad. We must be capable of making rude behavior undesirable to the perpetrator. That, or Iowa should be allowed to deport Chicagans.


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