He was shaving outside of the donut shop with one of those disposable razors you get in a hospital care kit. I imagined how dull that blade was as he checked his reflection in the glass.
As he moved in closer to shave his jawline, the man stopped to read a sign.
He placed his razor down on the cement curb and hustled inside.
His voice was as scruffy as his stubble. “Ma’am, ” he started, with polished panhandler manners, “your sign says free WiFi Can I please have a cup?”
The young employee started to giggle. She looked at the sign with eyes as big as ice cream scoops. “Sir, I can’t give you a cup of WiFi.”
He scratched his head, a blue hospital band dangling around his wrist. “Why not? Your sign says you have free WiFi, so you should be able to give me some.” He pointed at the sign again. “And I’ve never had WiFi before. Ma’am, could I please have some WiFi?”
“But sir,” she started, trying to swallow her smile. “I can’t give you any WiFi…you need a phone to get it.”
“But I don’t have a phone, that’s why I came here.”
His voice got a little louder as he pointed to the sign, reading the reserved message, “It says free WiFi and I want my free WiFi..NOW.”
I gulped the rest of my coffee and smiled. I knew Mr. Stubble, AKA, Mr. Chocolate Old Fashioned. He was very particular about the donut that I purchased for him that morning before his shave and confusion. I walked up to the counter.
“Sir, the lady can’t give you WiFi because it’s not something you eat or drink. It’s not like a donut.”
“What does WiFi look like?” he asked.
I scratched my head. “I’m really not sure what it looks like. It a free signal that sucks all of our time so we can tune out the world in front of us.”
“So why do you want it?”
“Gee, I don’t know.”
Even after a cup of dark roast, the conversation was too much for me to handle at 6 am, I got on my bike and pedaled past his shaving kit, which was on the verge of being hijacked by a few pigeons.
I thought about that guy all day. If being homeless doesn’t marginalize a person enough, imagine not being able to use WiFI or a cell phone. How do these guys call their case workers, doctors and treatment centers, yet alone those who are missing them? I wondered if the library offered phones for these fellas to use.
Then I wondered, why do we want free WiFi? Doesn’t anyone update their statue face to face? The only people who talk to me on the streets are those who want a little change…or a Chocolate Covered Old Fashioned.
Maybe Dunkin should make a little change. Maybe they should offer a free donut with the purchase of WiFi, then share that free donut with someone who’s hungry for conversation.
That could tune us into what matters.
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
? Eleanor Roosevelt