Why yes, my busking fund is coming along swimmingly, thanks!
(Background: last month I withdrew cash to stash in my wallet to give to worthy buskers when I come across them, because whenever I walked past a good one I would bemoan the fact that I had nothing to give.)
I have now donated to a grand total of two buskers. Not many, no. They don’t tend to play at the times when I arrive/leave town, and work is such lately that I don’t really get breaks. Not the kind that entail leaving the office, at least.
Yet….I feel almost embarrassed, or secretive about the whole process. I don’t exactly carry change in my pocket. So that leaves me to hang around at a distance while I fumble in my wallet, extract some coins, then creep up, drop them into the guitar case, and escape. Or alternatively, stride up furiously without making eye contact, clang em down like a bomb and continue on my way without hardly missing a beat.
Compare this to the guilt I always used to feel when accosted by street collectors. I just can’t win!
Which got me thinking (well, that and reading Atlas Shrugged): How do you reconcile altruism in a capitalist world? How do you balance making a living and all that jazz, and making a difference?
I can’t say I’ve never contemplated trying to move into PR/marketing to make more and have better hours. Yes, I’m playing the game – that game – buying into the dream of working hard, buying a house, starting a family.
But on the flip side, I often think that I should go and work for a charity. Put my skills to some real good. Sometimes, I think “I have so much. Shouldn’t I go live in Africa and devote my life to my fellow human beings? Who am I to be eating out and dreaming of buying a house when elsewhere women are raped and children go hungry and uneducated?”
My measly $10 or $20 or $30 – whatever I give away in a given month – seems like such a paltry amount. A selfish, token donation. Of course I could afford to give more. Most of us can. Of course I could give enough to hurt. But I choose not to. I choose to put my personal wellbeing, enjoyment and goals ahead of selflessness.
Gah. Please tell me I’m not the only one who ever feels like this.