So today, because it was my first trip to Karma Kitchen, I was treated as a guest (after which, I promptly signed up to volunteer). Lunch was a thali which included aloo gobi, chana masala, saag paneer, dal, naan, rice, and kheer (also lassi and chai); since I am a small person who eats small meals, there was about twice as much food as I cared to eat.
Unfortunately because the food had already been plated, it couldn't be sent back to serve to someone else; so the kitchen wrapped it up for me and said I could take it home if I wanted.
But taking home the food didn't make sense; this was food that was meant to be given to people, not stored in a refrigerator. So I set off, doggie bag in hand, to pay-it-forward to the homeless man who sits outside of the Starbucks near Dupont Circle. (I picked him because I knew he would be there. He's always there.)
When I saw him, sitting on the sidewalk, I suddenly thought that it might be embarrassing for him to eat this leftover meal with his hands, so I decided to get him a fork and some napkins. I went into the Starbucks and swiped a few napkins, but couldn't find a fork; they only had straws and sugar packets. So then I went into the Marvelous Market next door and stole a plastic fork when nobody was looking; but when I walked outside with it this guy on the street bumped into me and I dropped the fork onto the ground. I couldn't give the homeless man a dirty fork, but I didn't want to steal two forks from the same place (stealing one was okay, but stealing two just seemed wrong), so I walked down the block to Firehook Bakery and stole a plastic fork from them.
When I made it back to the Starbucks, the homeless guy was gone. I walked around Dupont Circle and didn't see him. (No doubt he anticipated my presumption and vanished.)
So, disappointed, I took my leftover food and my stolen fork and began to walk back home.
Then, on the corner of 18th and Columbia, as I was crossing the street (the one near Tryst and the McDonalds), this man looked at me. Literally as we were passing each other in the middle of the street. He didn't look "homeless," not like the guy who sits outside of the Starbucks and wraps himself in newspaper, but he looked right at me as we were crossing the street and he said "Lady, can you help me get something to eat?"
And right in the middle of the street I handed him my doggie bag and the fork and napkins and said "here--it's for you!"
I think I have to be a bit cautious about what I ask the universe for. But I hope the man enjoyed his meal.