Rob Azevedo was thankful for the beer in front of him and a bevy of thankful folk around him. Until a chance encounter let him to rethink his priorities.
One thanks up, two thanks back. Every thanks I give seems to provide me another reasons to feel utterly thankless at times. Like on a recent Friday night when I was splurging away on my thankful spirit at an Irish pub.
In a near euphoric state, surrounded by a bevy of thankful folk, writhing in the perfumed air lined with the fresh stank of musk, breath and groomed cleavage, I was completely thankful for the beer, for my life, for the resurgence of stretch pants, the birth of music and the barking cold wind cutting through the alley outside.
Leaving for another joint to share my thankfulness with others, I passed this little blond-headed bird dressed in dirty pants and a filthy sweatshirt, crying on a curb, cranked out on everything, a fantastic disaster.
We talked. Late in her teens, this crushed little bird was sobbing away on this cold night because someone was making fun of her at the convenient store across the street. “They wouldn’t let me buy any soda.” she tells me, lining her shirt sleeve with snot. “I just wanted a gallon of Mountain Dew. That‘s all I wanted! And they laughed me!”
We talk more. Homeless she is, this little broken babe, worse than homeless, worse than broken. She doesn’t know where she’ll sleep tonight, she says. She can’t stop crying. I slide her a bill and she buries it into her bra with lightening speed, looking over her tiny shoulder at the baboon to her left who is pacing and panting into a cell phone, cranking on a grit. The baboon is her Man, her lifeline, and if he sees that bill, well, forget it, no soda, no bed sheets, just another rip across the bra and a blast in the arm.
So long little bird.
That’s the thing with thanks, I just want to shut it off sometimes, or at least hand it over to someone who really needs it. When I meet a broken bird like she, the hypocrisy of thanks comes screaming up at me, overwhelming me, confusing me, leaving me guilt ridden for all I’m thankful for. So much so that I immediately head into another cozy bar where the kitchen is open, doing my best to keep out the wickedness of the world with a Hapkido stance.
“Sure, I’ll have a Guinness.” I say to the bartender. “Thanks.”
See! I did it again! Thankful for what? Another pint of suds? The rich scent of grilled meat? Why should I be thankful when this baby bird rots away on the streets of Manchester, asking for nothing, granted even less?
It’s then I head outside my confine of thankfulness and try and find that bird again, but the bird is gone, flown off somewhere down the road to be ridiculed by a mob of pikers and skanks, broken by the thankless life the Lord has afforded her.
So the next time you feel thankful for all you have, don’t thank me or your Mom or the bartender with yet another empty offering of gratitude. Find a bird, any old broken down dirty bird and feed it, bathe it, cuff it some cash if you can, share your thankfulness with someone other than another drunken thankful soul.
And for God’s sake, someone find my wingless bird and buy her a gallon of soda, won‘t you?
Thanks. Ugh! See, did it again.
photo by bark