Sometimes the universe fits things together in nifty ways. Not long ago, for example, I was sitting with my son Alex in a club in the Adams Morgan section of Washington, D.C. We had come to hear live music (there was a Latin band playing that night) and try the restaurant’s Famous Soul Food.
I ordered the barbecued ribs (something I usually avoid out of deference to my arteries, but I was feeling reckless.) My plate arrived with a pile of collard greens, a mountain of mashed potatoes and gravy, corn bread, and something I determined after a few pokes to be barbecued chicken.
The waitress apologized and promised to bring me ribs ASAP. Meanwhile, I ate all the side dishes.
When the ribs finally arrived, I was taken aback to see more mashed potatoes, collard greens and corn bread. And meanwhile, the barbecued chicken was still sitting untouched on the table. I protested to the waitress that this was completely unnecessary…what on earth would we do with all this food? But she just shrugged. It’s what they do. Eventually I transferred the surplus to a styrofoam container. It was almost the equivalent of a full Thanksgiving dinner.
When we left the restaurant, Alex and I decided to stroll around the funky streets of Adams Morgan for a bit. Down the block, a scruffy-looking man approached us, looking at my carry-out container.
“Excuse me, ma’m. Would you happen to have some leftovers for a homeless person?”
“Buddy,” I thought, “You just hit the jackpot!”
I hope I can explain that my delight at this moment wasn’t because I got to play Lady Bountiful with my leftovers. It’s just that so often things are out of whack. Some of us have way too much for our own good, and some of us have way too little. It’s kind of cool when serendipity puts these excesses and deficits together so neatly. I hope he enjoyed the meal.