I am married to someone who loves chocolate, especially dark, smoky chocolate. The kind that feels dry in your mouth. And if it’s got something crazy in it, like nibs of chili peppers, all the better. Recently, this fellow expressed a bit of frustration about the renovation project he’s working on because it’s taking longer than expected–and our expectations were already adding on additional time. That is how renovations of old houses go. Alas.
After venting a bit, he said, “I might have to buy some chocolate to get me through this.”
That’s the background for this story–
Yesterday, I had a meeting over coffee in a nearby city, and right near the cash register were impulse-buy chocolate bars. These were what I like to call frou-frou chocolates–certified fair trade, organic, super dark, gourmet chocolate candy bars, and they were rather pricey, as ethically produced things tend to be. (This is one of my soapboxes.)
Remembering what he’d said, I bought the frou-frou chocolate bar to take home and surprise the honey, who was diligently putting up cement-board in the bathroom while I was drinking coffee.
Wouldn’t you know it, while stopped at a red light on my way home, I saw a guy on the corner holding a cardboard sign asking for money.
I glanced over at my purse on the passenger seat, pretty sure I didn’t have any cash in my wallet.
Beside my purse, of course, there sat the chocolate bar, in all of its aesthetically pleasing glory. My stomach sank a little bit.
I didn’t want to give him the chocolate bar. It was a gift for someone else. Someone I love. It was a fancy chocolate bar. I had paid good money for that thing, in order to guarantee that no child slaves had been involved in its making, for cryin’ out loud! I care about these things!
Besides, I told myself (though I’m embarrassed to admit it), he’s not going to appreciate what it is. It’s really good chocolate. He’s not even going to like it.
Pause a second and consider why I would think that. He wouldn’t appreciate it? Appreciate what it is? What exactly is it? I’m seriously asking: Why did I think it?
Would you think it?
These are dangerous questions to ask yourself.
Needless to say, these thoughts are going through my head pretty quickly, as I’m waiting at the light. I’m arguing with myself about whether to give it to him or not, yes, no, back and forth, should I roll down my window?
I decide to check my wallet to make sure there wasn’t any cash in it.
No miracle of loaves and fishes here, in case you were expecting one. No cash.
Then I look up from my wallet and see the minivan in front of me roll down its window. He approaches. They hand out some money. Then a pause, and then a can of Pringles.
A can of Pringles.
Or rather, half a can of Pringles. He opens them on the spot and reaches his hand halfway down before getting one.
The light turns, and the cars are moving.
But really, the half can of Pringles was all it took.
Are you kidding me? I say to myself. The least I could do is give him a chocolate bar.
So I did.
Because that is what I had to give.