Our columnist has money ready for the homeless – and the door for the following women. Nevertheless, he cannot please his environment. By Mickey Beisenherz
It might also be a good thing if cash is soon to be abolished. There will be other difficulties in explaining things, but not these unpleasant moments when the small change is missing in the wrong situation.
For example, I was recently sitting at my favorite coffee shop (I have three) relaxing reading a book when a homeless man asked for a little help. I got some coins out of my pocket and gave him some. A few minutes later, another small charity campaign tore me out of the reading. It’s a busy place, so I did what tourists usually do in big cities: I gave him money too.
I enjoyed my high earner beans self-satisfied, in the firm knowledge that I had surpassed myself here as St. Martin vom Großneumarkt in a charitable manner. Until the third clochard came. I indicated to him that I didn’t carry any small change with me and that I couldn’t do anything (anymore) for him. With a disparaging look, he turned away from the lackel, who had apparently stolen from the solidarity community with a cheap lie. How I would have loved to go after him and show him receipts for my two previous charities, but alas, in that window of opportunity I was just the ignorant miser.
Thomas Gottschalk has already described this on a higher level, who, when moving about in public, has an open ear for everyone and recently even cut out his face in a selfie-compatible way. “You’re willing to give autographs to hundreds of people. The first hundred and first people to whom you say, ‘I’d like to eat my schnitzel in peace’, naturally think: ‘arrogant asshole’.” – Well, sure, in Gottschalk’s world we are all something like tramps who thirst for his affection, but he’s right about that.
Creating a coherent picture of yourself seems impossible
Our existence is just a series of moments. A concatenation of circumstances, situations and parts of the public. In one group you are the easy-going, always good-humoured “Steffmaster”, in another context you are only known as the lazy, unrelaxed Stefan, for whom perhaps just a small, never corrected comment led to years of gradual shifts in cooperation. A small communicative misalignment that has grown into a social herniated disc.
It seems impossible to create a coherent picture of oneself, coherently, without breaks or contradictions. At best, we manage to be decent, good, even winning, in as many situations as possible. We also have to accept that others think we’re stupid.
You hurry into the department store and notice a woman behind you approaching. Of course you act as porter for them. You gallantly hold the door open for people three, four and five. At some point, however, that’s when it’s good. And while the first five people got to know you at your best, polite, charming, and considerate, person number six must come across as a selfish creep.
You can’t win
Tomorrow I’m finally moving the red Make America Great Again cap from its prominent place on the dresser. Was just a joke, my wife brought me back from Texas. But I have my doubts as to whether my Chilean cleaning lady also has this information.
Recently she seemed more reserved. I’m a nice guy though.