Sometimes I think about picking up a homeless person and paying him to be my carpool mate. Though not exactly a corporate ladder rung, the job is analogous to a seat-filler at the Oscars or the person you ask to shoot a photo of you, and in this economy isn’t any employment beneficial? Plus, I’m sure the conversation would prove scintillating and offer a revealing glimpse into life’s challenges.
But even in my desire to move through life a little more quickly, I pause at the idea of capitalizing on the misfortune of others, as though taking advantage of an underserved labor force is an inappropriate use of my position. And so there’s this strange conundrum. If I provide a low-wage job for someone less fortunate, society accuses me of exploitation. If I pass the fella by, I am an unsympathetic wretch with no compassion or desire to help out my fellow man.
As I sit, stuck the rush hour log jam, staring at the Toyota Prius humming by at a cool 64mph (and at that speed, let’s not lie, starting to vibrate like a struck drum) my indecision reminds me of the last time I considered drinking red wine. Sure the intoxication threatened, but science suggests anti-oxidants and resveratrol may be beneficial. The point here is that I finally ended up taking one more healthy swig, handed the homeless chap the bottle’s remaining sips, and headed off down the freeway, weaving back and forth atop that white line, half-in and half-out of the carpool lane.