DAY 27: Second Day in Berlin
Overcome with laziness. Spent the morning catching up on blog entries and editing photos before finally walking to the center of Berlin. I didn’t do much. Wandered. I walked through the shopping malls mostly. Disinterested; I hate shopping.
I was fiending for pizza. Found a spot attached to the train station but I probably could’ve done better. Half pizza, half kebab joint. Didn’t take long for it to be ready. I sat down at the benches outside. I hadn’t even been on my ass for longer than a second before a man approached me.
“Hi, do you speak english,” he asked through a thick German accent.
“Yes,” I replied.
“I’m homeless and I was wondering if I could have some of your pizza.”
I was the only one of the seven people surrounding us that he approached. Nothing about his demeanor, his clothing or his voice appeared desperate; I didn’t buy it.
“Come on, man…” I said, staring at him. “No.”
I said it as firmly as I could. He was clearly surprised by the response and said nothing else. He walked away. I felt no remorse about it. Was my sympathy waning? Was my skin becoming too thick? Or was he actually full of shit, leeching off the one guy who looked like an American pushover? Perhaps I was grumpy. In the past I probably would’ve succumbed to anxiety and given him a slice without thinking.
However, after witnessing countless hardworking artists in the streets do what they could to scrape a living, I wasn’t sure I had much sympathy left for that kind of behavior. I questioned this interaction constantly, out of self-evaluation. Would I have reacted different if I could go back and re-do that situation? Perhaps he genuinely was broke and desperate for food. Maybe he was a good man too. But then again, what has to happen in your life for you to be content with living on the sidewalk with a cup of change at the mercy of other people’s pity? I’d like to think I’m a decent person that’d help someone truly in need but this time, I couldn’t do it. It didn’t feel right. We’ll see how the next interaction with a homeless beggar pans out, I suppose.