I feel like a large part of my Brooklyn and New York Experience has been about being taken advantage of for who I am. I was raised to be nice to people. My parents are very giving people. They have always been kind to those who were less fortunate. I am proud to be like them in many ways, shapes, and forms, but also proud of how different I am in some ways.
I know I've written about this before. The guy in this blog, who approached me three days in a row with the same story: http://www.brooklynjunk.com/2015/10/to-give-or-not-to-give.html
....and the friend of mine who asked to stay with me for a week and I had to talk to him about leaving many months later: http://www.brooklynjunk.com/2015/10/difficult-conversations.html
Today's experience illustrates what seems to happen to me a lot here. I had a lot of garlic on fish for lunch. You may correctly guess that this makes for some extra special breath coming out of my mouth. Given the fact that I need to speak with people about donating money to me, it's important that I have good breath. I took a break from my office and walked over to the pharmacy near by. I picked out a pack of gum. As I went to ring it up, the cashier told me that instead of $1.69 per pack, they were on sale for $1.50 for two packs or $1.29 for one. Knowing that I was going to go through the gum quickly, I grabbed two packs. I immediately popped two pieces out of the pack. I then gave it to her and said, "thanks for letting me know, would you like some gum?"
Now, what would a person in any other part of the country do in this situation? Maybe I'm crazy, but my Oneonta friends, my Rochester friends, my Chicago friends, and my Washington, DC friends would grab one or two pieces and then hand me back the pack. If they were feeling especially generous, they might pass the pack on to the person next to them.
What happens in Brooklyn, I ask you? The person takes the entire rest of the pack - 7 pieces. and puts it in her pocket without even taking any gum out. I took a photo of pack number two since I wanted to show an example with only two pieces taken out (I think two pieces is a normal serving).
What does one say in this situation after already offering "some gum?" Again I feel like I was taken advantage of for my kindness. Someone took more than I intended to offer since I wasn't clear.
I won't go into how many times this has happened while I've been here. If you read some of my other posts, you might notice this happens sometimes.
What do I learn from it:
1.) I need to keep being kind and generous. Don't stop that just because people here take more than you intend.
2.) Be very explicit when you are being kind or generous about what you are offering ("Would you like a piece of gum or two?"). If you only articulate exactly what you are offering, it helps you to not give all you have.
3.) Relish the kindness and manners of people who are not in Brooklyn or New York. On the phone or when you visit in person, be even kinder to them since they have manners.
4.) Be thankful that you were raised to give and have enough to give when you have it. It is a blessing to give to others. It will come back to you.