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Did she bless or curse me

that hitchhiking gyspy I picked up today?



As I was heading home from grocery shopping this morning, I saw a gypsy woman trying to get a lift.  Knowing how hard it is for anyone to hitchhike these days, much less a gitane, I pulled over and offered to take her since our roads would continue on the same path for some miles at least.  Better to get her a little farther down the road in the blistering heat, even if I couldn't take her all the way. And, I thought, here was my chance to pay forward a good turn done to me once by travelin' folk (some gypsy men gave me a trout when I had no luck fishing in Sancerre).

The gypsy woman climbed in the car and began by thanking me and telling me she had a pressing appointment with a doctor.  Still sing-songing her thanks, she promised to say a prayer of blessing for me.  I thanked her for her kindness and off we went. We hadn't gone far before she informed me that she would read my palm for me.  Knowing that it would be a "paying" service, I politely declined and told her my beliefs do not permit me to do such things.

"Oh, you don't believe," she said.

"No," I corrected her, "I said my faith doesn't allow it."

"You're baptized. You're a Christian."  At my nod, she said, "Fine.  Give me some money, please.  Something for the hungry children's bellies."

"I only have my credit card," I told her. Not exactly true--I did have a small amount of cash--but I make a point of giving people money only under certain circumstances if I wish to help them.  "I just bought groceries. I have some fruit in the back I will give you when I drop you off."

"What kind of fruit?" She didn't wait for my answer, spying the tube of medicine for aches and pains that I had just bought for S. "I have a headache."

I didn't realize right away what she was getting at and said something about the pounding sunshine and heat possibly being the cause of her pain.

"You can stop at the bank and get me some money."

"I'm not going by the bank. I turn to go to my house before we go past any ATMs."

"It will only take you two minutes. Just get me 10 euros."

"No, I need to take my daughter home, and the traffic is very bad." I waved my hand at the traffic jam we were currently sitting in and the blocked on-coming lane.

"Just go to the bank. Only two minutes. Please, out of the kindness of your heart."

Smiling, I looked her in the eyes and said, "I'm already giving you a lift out of the kindness of my heart."

That stopped the pleas for money, but then she insisted that I drive her all the way to the train station. I informed her that I had no plans to drive that far out of my way and then have to fight traffic for an additional 30 min when I had a hungry toddler sitting behind me, waiting for Mommy to get her home and feed her lunch. The thing is, I would have gladly taken her as far as the train station had the traffic not been so abominable. It really isn't that far--St Jean is not that big--but getting around in summer is an absolute nightmare, and I admit that I don't like people trying to guilt trip me or tell me what to do. Attitude is everything.

The gypsy began to get very irate with me, her tone leaving no doubt that I would cede to her wishes.

And I firmly repeated that I was about to turn and would then proceed to take her even farther out of her way if she didn't get out of the car at the next intersection.

"Fine, let me out here," she said as if it was her idea all along. She muttered darkly under her breath. Hoping to incite in me a change of heart? Invoking the wrath of gypsy spirits?

She stormed out of the car with nary a goodbye, "give me that fruit," or "thanks again" and marched directly to the kind sir who had let me merge in front of him, never suspecting his consideration was going to open him up to a gypsy's begging. 

In the rearview mirror, I watched her plead with him as traffic inched forward.  He capitulated and she climbed into his car just as I turned off the main road.

I had a pretty good day, so I guess she didn't curse me after all.  That or my willingness to do a good turn trumped any ill will flung my way?



Strange perhaps to make a tag for "gypsies" but I'm sad I can no longer find my entry about the gyspies gifting me with the trout. :-<  I'm sure I'll have more gypsy encounters to blog about to make it worth my while. :P

Comments

( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
queenoftheskies
Aug. 14th, 2012 08:32 pm (UTC)
You live/have lived in the most wonderful places. All the daily events you have to tell are exciting and inspiring, and wonderful to read.

Even if this one was annoying for you, it was still so different from what I see/hear on a daily basis that it's amazing; a different world to me. Thank you for sharing.
mnfaure
Aug. 16th, 2012 01:19 pm (UTC)
*lol* You are welcome. I'm sure I'll have lots of stories to tell in Cairo.
frigg
Aug. 14th, 2012 09:44 pm (UTC)
*nods*

We don't have many of them here, but this behaviour is sadly the reason why I don't help.
frigg
Aug. 14th, 2012 09:47 pm (UTC)
Oh, and is this the post you are looking for:

http://mnfaure.livejournal.com/262980.html#cutid1

mnfaure
Aug. 16th, 2012 01:14 pm (UTC)
Sadly, it isn't. I mean the original LJ entry I had made (could swore I made) back when the incident had happened. I was sure it was July 2006, but I didn't find it when I went looking. Maybe I should go look again...
frigg
Aug. 16th, 2012 01:14 pm (UTC)
Maybe it would be faster just to make a new entry? If you want one, that is.
mnfaure
Aug. 16th, 2012 01:33 pm (UTC)
Yeah. Just seems weird after the fact, I guess. But it doesn't have to be. *I'm* just weird.
frigg
Aug. 16th, 2012 01:38 pm (UTC)
It's your blog, do what you want! :)
mnfaure
Aug. 16th, 2012 01:51 pm (UTC)
hehe. I shall. ;) Thanks for the idea.
mnfaure
Aug. 16th, 2012 01:16 pm (UTC)
*nods* I do understand why they act so aggressive sometimes. They are stereotyped and treated like thieves/nuisances, etc. but the gimme attitude and pushy behavior don't earn them any points.
frigg
Aug. 16th, 2012 01:24 pm (UTC)
Exactly. Many have a really bad "them" and "us" attitude, and the "thems" are filthy rich and just needs to be milked as much as possible.
mnfaure
Aug. 16th, 2012 01:36 pm (UTC)
Yes. :-<
pjthompson
Aug. 14th, 2012 11:26 pm (UTC)
Saints preserve us.
mnfaure
Aug. 16th, 2012 01:29 pm (UTC)
They preserved S and I that day. :P Just a little gypsy haranguing, nothing we couldn't withstand. ;)
pjthompson
Aug. 16th, 2012 05:57 pm (UTC)
I think you can consider your fish debt paid in full so you don't have to risk anymore gypsy harangues.
mnfaure
Aug. 16th, 2012 08:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I shall now consider that account closed and mark it "paid in full." :P
asakiyume
Aug. 15th, 2012 12:03 am (UTC)
It was good of you to give her a lift. Too bad she apparently didn't see you as a person doing a nice thing but rather as a resource to be exploited to the max. And good for you for knowing your boundaries, too, and sticking to them.

mnfaure
Aug. 16th, 2012 01:21 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I just hate feeling like someone is try to exploit me. I often remind myself that all I can do is give; it is not up to me to determine how the gift is used (appreciated...or not). However, I don't have to give more than I am comfortable with.
xjenavivex
Aug. 15th, 2012 01:12 am (UTC)
I was getting very anxious for you.
mnfaure
Aug. 16th, 2012 01:22 pm (UTC)
hehe. At one point, I did mention that my husband worked for the police. :P
nipernaadiagain
Aug. 15th, 2012 05:46 am (UTC)
No harm done. And in the end you have a story to tell!

Can you tell more about hitchiking in France?

I picked up hitchikers last time last summer*. As a charm - my daughter was hitchiking with a friend from UK in other side of Estonia at the same day. Apparently in UK hitchiking is not as commonplace as it is in Estonia and so my daughter wanted her friend to experience it.

*as I drive very rarely and am a bad driver, so actually I believe I should not put strangers in danger of riding with me. When my children hitchike this is what I fear most - that the person who picks them up is a bad driver and will get into an accident.
mnfaure
Aug. 16th, 2012 01:25 pm (UTC)
Having stories to tell
That is definitely how I look at such encounters. :)

Hitchhiking in France is mostly done by the young. I see young men doing it alone, but I don't remember ever seeing a young girl trying to do it by herself (only with a girl friend). I don't know how successful they are. We (my husband and I) give rides when we can. But I must admit that now that I'm a parent, I take more care about who I take into the car with my daughter.
sunflower_sky
Aug. 15th, 2012 08:22 am (UTC)
Great boundary setting!!! Geez, that lady had some nerve!

~D
mnfaure
Aug. 16th, 2012 01:27 pm (UTC)
It is funny, but sometimes I really have a hard time sticking to boundaries in such situations--feelings of guilty and the knowledge that I *could* do more. I have to realize, though, that I'm not obliged to do more. And if I don't, that doesn't make me a bad person.

And I much prefer my daughter's style of cheekiness to that woman's. :P
sunflower_sky
Aug. 16th, 2012 03:37 pm (UTC)
Yes, it is especially hard to set boundaries for people who are really in need. But you're right, you are not obliged to do more. According to Jewish law you are not *allowed* to gave more than a fifth of your property in charity. This is to prevent people from going to the opposite extreme of giving and forgetting that they and their families have to exist, too. (There is also a hierarchy in who to give charity to: family first, the people in your city second, and people outside your city third.)

As I understand it this is kind of different from the Christian ideal, though. Am I correct?

~D
khiemtran
Aug. 15th, 2012 09:21 am (UTC)
Wow, she was really pushing it...
mnfaure
Aug. 16th, 2012 01:12 pm (UTC)
She was. And if only she had realized how much I balk when pushed, she might have backed off...and then she might have gotten a ride all the way to the train station. :P
rabiagale
Aug. 15th, 2012 10:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, my.

Good for you for sticking to your guns. I'm afraid I'd have folded under the pressure of sustained begging, but maybe not. I can get mama bear-ish where my kids are concerned.
mnfaure
Aug. 16th, 2012 01:10 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I felt crumbly-guilty for a moment or two and had I been alone, I might have gone ahead and taken her, despite the extreme inconvenience. But with S aboard, I was definitely more concerned about her that a pushy woman.
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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