A Different Kind of Fuck Yeah! Friday

fyeah friday windowThis community has always been astonishing – mind-boggling astonishing – when it comes to supporting things that are bigger than ourselves. Book drives, art galleries, and other causes that come your way via this blog – you step up as you see fit to lend a helping hand.

So this week, I’m going to throw out some fucking awesome ideas for how you can do that this holiday season on your own terms and to benefit folks in your local community.

But Let’s Start With This Guy in Boulder, Colorado

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, I took my dogs hiking in the hills and when we were done, I hit up the local Whole Foods for a snack and grocery run. On the way out of the parking lot, there was a young man standing at the traffic intersection with a sign to the effect of “Anything Helps.” I rolled down the window, knowing I had a bag of food in the passenger seat next to me and asked him if he’d like a sandwich.

He asked, “Is it vegetarian?”

I blinked. No, I replied. It’s not.

He said, “Oh, yeah, well, thanks anyways.”

I rolled up the window and scooted on my way. The first thought that came to mind is that apparently, beggars can be choosers. It’s the new paradigm of Need. As a friend mentioned when I shared the story – this guy in Boulder wasn’t truly hungry. And hunger is something I really understand.

When You’re Hungry and Want Something

It rules you. You’re willing to do most anything to get it. Just think about the toys of your childhood and how you’d save your allowance for the day you could walk into a store and blow it all in a single ka-ching of the register. Think of your business and all of the soul-sucking, ass-busting, sleepless nights and exhausted days that you trudge through with your eyes on a goal you wouldn’t give up for a pet meerkat that crapped gold bullion and did laundry.

And none of us ever sated our hunger without a little help from others. We go through the year feeding one another’s minds – so let’s take a minute and figure out how we can feed another type of hunger this holiday.

The one that makes us keep our windows rolled up. Makes us feel guilty for having a bag of groceries sitting on the seat next to us. Makes us lower that hamburger we’re eating below window-level when That Person walks by our car at the intersection holding a makeshift cardboard sign. The kind that makes us stare at shopping carts filled to the gills with every odd and end – and topped with a sleeping bag – with a scrunchy look on our faces.

Roll the Fuckin’ Windows Down

Really. What are they going to do – bite? Yes. Those people who have less, who bring themselves to stand before us and ask. The ones who stand in line outside shelters each night hoping for a bed as we tweet and Facebook about our Christmas tree lights. And the worst? Those people who have the fuckin’ nerve to stand there and ruin our time to jam out to some unintelligible, moronic Nikki Minnaj-do-you-know-who-the-eff-I-is crap pop tune while waiting for the light to turn green at the intersection.

The fuckers, right?

How about this holiday season, you roll the fuckin’ window down? Here are some ways to do it:

  • Buy an extra sandwich the next time you’re at the deli. Grab an extra bag of chips.
  • Go to your closet and pull out every winter coat you haven’t worn since…oh, forever.
  • Go to your linen closet and grab those blankets you’re saving for “company,” yet truth be told, you’d go out and buy a new blanket before putting those on a bed for your guests.
  • Pick up some cans of soup with pull-tab tops at the grocery store (I enjoy Progresso and find it’s a very reasonable $1.49 a can at Target these days)
  • Those “Magic Gloves” – you know, the teeny tiny ones sold in two- or three-packs you see at the checkout line in every department store? Grab a handful.

Throw all of this shit into the backseat or passenger seat of your car and do nothing except keep on keepin’ on.

And the next time you come to an intersection, turn down the radio and roll the fuckin’ window down. You’ve got everything you need sitting in the seat next to you.


I know. You could drop all of that stuff off at a food bank or a local shelter, right? Avoid getting the “human” on you that happens when you roll the window down. But why?

They always say thank you. Which is more than I can say for many of the people I come across who don’t push chopping carts or sit at intersections holding cardboard signs.

We need more Human. Git sum.

So…Get Hungry

No matter what you have or how you hurt, there is someone with less and who hurts more. It doesn’t make our situations any less meaningful but we are all hungry in some way – who are we to judge and say one hunger is better than another? And yes, if there’s someone who has a Dexter Morgan-like “hunger,” I’ll just say that’s bad. But since most of us aren’t hanging out with serial killers, maybe we can shift how we look at hunger this holiday season and use our own – for whatever it might be – to do the one thing that every one of us should do more often:

Roll. The Fuckin’. Window. Down.

There’s a human outside. Waiting to tell you thank you.

And THAT, my friends, is a thought worthy of a mention on Fuck Yeah! Friday.

PS: If there’s something going on in YOUR community that you’d like to share with the RedheadWriting community that’s along the lines of this week’s FYF, share it in the comments. Can’t wait to hear. And if you have more ideas for things people can load-up on to have on hand when they roll the windows down, let’s hear those ideas, too.

29 replies
  1. Nicole Tatlock Ploehn
    Nicole Tatlock Ploehn says:

    Truly fucking awesome my friend!!! I always roll down the window — even if it’s to give them a quarter because it’s all I have … No matter how much we hurt or how little we have — there is always someone with less and who hurts more is something I wish everybody could understand and apply to their lives!! Once again, your blog post blows me away 😉 You are awesome….keep at it girl – you have a talent!

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Great idea! Excellent reminder! Thanks for bringing this up. Time to humanize each other again. Oh, and I love “trudge through with your eyes on a goal you wouldn’t give up for a pet meerkat that crapped gold bullion and did laundry.”

    Fucking BRILLIANT!!!

  3. James Johnson
    James Johnson says:

    Thanks for the “remember to be human” slap, as well as reminding us to not just be social online, but to be more sociable and human where it matters more–the real world. 

    I appreciate you  sharing that big heart of yours with the rest of us…keep up the social good.

  4. Liz Jaeger
    Liz Jaeger says:

    Yay! I get to share my favorite open window story! One day I was waiting at a light in Hoboken, NJ and a man was walking the line. It was summer and my window was already down so when he got up to me he said “Hello beautiful lady! How is your day today?” Surprised he hadn’t yet asked for change, I smiled & responded. He then asked me “And what can I do for you today to get a reward of some of your hard earned cash? Would you like me to sing, or dance?” When I pulled a $5 bill from my bag, he proceeded to sing AND dance, and then tell me that one day, when he has enough money saved up, he will take me out to dance with him!
    To this day, he is my favorite “beggar” and I hope to see him again some day.  If I do, maybe I will take HIM out for a dance! 🙂

    Thanks for the reminder that they may not dress, eat, look or smell like us all of the time, but they are still human beings and deserve compassion.

  5. Ed Mahoney
    Ed Mahoney says:

    Damn, this actually worked to get me into the spirit.  I did give my daughter a can of soup for her school’s canned food drive this am.  Typo I think on the word “our” in your 1st sentence.

  6. Matthew
    Matthew says:

    I like that a guy who refused your sandwich offer spurred this post. It could have easily turned into a rant in the opposite direction criticizing these folks…but, you chose to focus on the positive. And that is awesome.

  7. Christina McCarthy
    Christina McCarthy says:

    Thank YOU for putting this out there. It is my sentiment, exactly. I buy the gloves, donate tons of food, and have bought bags or groceries for the guy who stands outside the store. And yet, i still have trouble making eye contact and rolling down the window. I feel so guilty in my warm car with my full belly and hot coffee and plethora of STUFF.
    But they are human and need that interaction and human touch like everyone else. Giving that is a gift beyond measure.

  8. Annie Sisk
    Annie Sisk says:

    So much fabulousness….where to begin? I LOVE this idea. During the summer, a friend reported on FB that she saw a homeless guy panting in the Florida heat as much as his dog was – they were sitting under an overpass. She did an illegal U-turn, went back to the nearest convenience store, and grabbed all the cold water bottles she could carry. She told the clerk what had happened. He went back in the stock room and came back with a large empty box. Then the clerk bought $10 worth of bottles himself and added them to hers. When she got back to the overpass, the guy and dog were gone. She felt awful. So she drove around town, looking for them. She never found them but she did pass out every single bottle she’d bought. Cost her $50. Yet it profoundly altered her, she says, probably for life. 

  9. biobabbler
    biobabbler says:

    Years ago in San Diego I had 2 buttered bagels, ate one, and decided 2 was too many. Right then, my husband & I pulled up at a stop light, & an older man (looking destitute) held up a sign re: needing food/money. I rolled down the window, asked if he’d like a buttered bagel, held out the white, butter-stained bag. I’d hardly finished speaking when he said yes and snatched it from my outstretched hand the next millisecond. That man MOVED.

    That, I believe, was hunger.

  10. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I like it. So very much. 

    I live in a pretty white bread suburban community that we call “The Bubble” because it is so pleasant and complacent and only reeks a little bit of white guilt. So, I don’t often see people asking on the street corners. 

    But. I grew up a little differently than most of the other privileged people here, and I know what it is like to live in a house where there isn’t enough money to buy groceries or clothes. Thankfully I’ve never been homeless, but I make it policy that when someone asks me for something, I give it. 

    Since it isn’t often in my face, I usually try to buy a few extra packs of diapers and feminine hygiene products when I buy them, and I drop them over to our local care center. They distribute it to people who need it, and from what I understand, there is a lot of need, even in our affluent community. It lacks the human touch, but I know they are used and appreciated, especially since food stamps can’t be used to purchase those items. 

    Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing. 

  11. Sara
    Sara says:

    I have a basket in my car that has toothbrushes, toothpaste, and crackers.  I have never once been turned down when handing out the toothpaste and toothbrush…I do know this doesn’t help with the hunger, but it does fill a need.  Thanks for yet another great post.

  12. Bill Dorman
    Bill Dorman says:

    Vegetarian homeless, I would have still eaten the bun…..

    Very worthwhile and definitely more of a one on one impact; however, use common sense and caution.

    As always, way to tell it like it is………….

    BTW – I met Al Smith in real life today for the first time; I think he said he met you in Atlanta at an event. Hopefully you didn’t have to feed him; man, can that dude eat….:)

  13. Darien Skullgrrl Goldman-Baysi
    Darien Skullgrrl Goldman-Baysi says:

    I always offer food, but no longer money. My parents taught me that lesson many years ago when we bought a beggar asking for change  a full chicken dinner; veggies, rolls, four pieces of chicken and dessert and a drink. As soon as we left the parking lot he smeared the food all over the restaurant windows and threw the drink at the hostess inside. The next time we went back the restaurant owner yelled at us. No one should go hungry, but I’ll be damned if I inadvertently get a methhead high. 

  14. Leon Noone
    Leon Noone says:

    G’Day Erika,
    When I was a little kid, I got my first autograph book. Almost every kid had one sixty years ago.
    An uncle wrote in it , “I thought that I was poor because I had no shoes: until I met a man who had no feet.” I’ve never forgotten that.

    I remember too that Bob Proctor said that you should never have a garage of car boot sale.  Give away the stuff you don’t want to the people who need it.

    It always comes back. And it’s fun.

  15. Cheri
    Cheri says:

    Make “sack lunches” with granola bars, individual canned fruit (with pop tops), juice boxes — food that won’t spoil and doesn’t need refrigeration. Some churches do this on a large scale and include “cheat sheets” containing information on local services complete with address and contact information. You can keep these in your car and hand them out when the opportunity presents itself.

    At the very least you could buy McDonalds gift certificates (your vegetarian friend could get a salad!) and hand those out.

  16. Lyssa Lynea
    Lyssa Lynea says:

    It seems like a much more genuine gesture to give food or necessities, plus I know I never have cash on me these days. I’m an artist and planning a piece along these same lines, a reminder that we are all human. I’m a new reader and love your straight forward writing style, happy holidays.

  17. Alicia J McGill
    Alicia J McGill says:

    Bravo lady! I don’t drive but I always buy a meal for someone less fortunate on my paydays. I may not make much, but I make enough to help someone out every 2 weeks. Kuddos for an awesome rant 🙂

  18. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    A while back I was driving to a friends’ apartment, and saw a guy walking down the median with his cardboard sign.  I pulled out the couple of dollars I had in my pocket and gave it to him when he came by.  Thing is, at the time, that was very literally the last couple of dollars I had.  My friend had paid for my gas, and I was driving to her place to pick up a bag of clothes that she was giving me and being given a hot meal.  I figured that I was lucky enough to have friends who were helping me out while I was desperately poor to make sure that I had food, warm clothes, and shelter to stay off the street and help keep me from being there on the corner with him.  Could I spare the money?  Not really.  Did it matter?  I was being fed that day by the kindness of a friend.  The least I could do, as a fellow human being, was to help see that this guy also had a meal to eat that day.

    Thank you for posting this.

  19. VTAmy
    VTAmy says:

    I live in Jamaica, VT where tropical storm wrecked havoc.  There is a small tree in our community store to “adopt” kids and adults this holiday season.   Although anonymous by nature, I have taken 3 slips and will do the best I can to share with them!  Happy Holidays.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *