A Free Cup of Coffee

I have been trying to close a safe deposit box long distance. Naturally, this is not exactly a one phone call kind of thing.

I was told that I would need a form from a local bank branch. This turned out to not be true, but it means I went to a local bank branch recently in person to talk to a banker about getting this form.

I went there basically first thing in the morning, not long after they opened. They had free coffee in the waiting area. I got myself a cup.

The thing is that I am still homeless. Most of the free coffee I have had while homeless has been from homeless services centers.

When I had a corporate job, I could also get free coffee in the break room. Middle class and upper class people get a lot of freebies in life. Courtesy items are a pretty routine part of life if you have a job or enough money to be a regular customer or participate in various other types of social connections.

One of the big problems with being homeless is the degree to which you are socially cut off. With the internet, for the first time in history, it is possible to have social connections in spite of your lack of a shower, inability to dress properly, lack of a job, etc.

I think this is game changing for homeless people. But the poorest of the poor are often needlessly excluded, even online.

I often wonder what could be done to help homeless individuals gain greater access to normal freebies, like the free coffee from the bank instead of free coffee from homeless services. I don't have any ready answers for how to do that.

It has always stuck in my craw somewhat that freebies for the more well-to-do are "courtesy" items and freebies for the poor are "charity." Charity has a lot of negative connotations (think of "charity case") and it is often of much poorer quality than courtesy items or things you would purchase.

I seem to be a bleeding heart idealist who continues to fail to be cured of my fantasies that the world ought to be more fair and egalitarian and kinder to all people, etc. Perhaps I am a fool to wonder how we can do this better.

Perhaps the shitty dog-eat-dog situation we currently have is as good as it gets. Perhaps I am just tilting at windmills, as I have been accused of doing.

Of course, the person who said that to me meant that I could not get well. They were wrong.
"A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?"
- Albert Einstein


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