my neighbor came over a little while ago and asked if she could have a cup of milk.
i gave it to her.
she apologized for having to ask. i told her not to apologize, because next week i may need something from her.
we live next door to each other. we share a street, a property line; our addresses are two digits apart. she is like me in some ways. she’s very different from me in others.
some people think that i shouldn’t have given her the milk.
i should have said, NO. this is MY milk. i worked for that milk. i spent my own time going to the store, selecting that milk, paying for it, taking it home, and putting it away.
what if i suddenly decide that i need more milk than what’s left in my refrigerator after sharing with you? i have plenty for now, and for tomorrow, and for the next day, but WHAT IF. what if all the cows dry up. what if a million things that could happen.
then we’ll drink something else.
she’s no less than i am because she has less today. tomorrow, it could be me asking.
i’ve been involved in some heated conversations lately, and the participants have been fairly evenly divided between those who believe in every man, woman and child for himself and those who believe that we should care for each other-not only our next door neighbors, but our metaphorical neighbors. not all of them are kind. not all of them are honest. but if we are, and if we share those things, then we err on the side of good and we make things better. otherwise, we end up isolated in our homes, doors dead-bolted, guarding our possessions until we die and rot among them. we want to place conditions on our neighbors’ right to live. if x then y, and if z then fuck you. circumstances=bank balance=right to food, shelter, health care.
i refuse to accept that. you can have my milk.