Nearing a large mall, entering.
Early, but open, and movement just outside a tire store adjacent to the main mall building.
Would they know how best to find a freeway, and -- better -- first, a Starbucks.
Computer search for an odd tire size the one guy in the store wanted.
Guy at the computer wearing thick glasses, may not be fully aware of my gaze wanting his quick attention.
Finally ask. He's with me: Oh yeah. See that green structure? Starbucks just beyond. This main road straight to I-5.
Thank him, and leaving laugh his way: Wish I could buy a tire.
He: If you want to do something, you can contribute to _____.
Laugh and pass through the door, but the thought lingers that this guy may actually be collecting for something local and needy. Maybe somebody's Little League son suffering from a bad malignity.
So after the coffee. Go out of the way. Back, with the intent of cutting a check.
This time, new guy buying something that requires a deeper computer search. Employee guy now has glasses off, can't see me, but must have heard the entry. Can't catch his eye which myopically floats, reflecting computer light.
Start to think: The charity remark may actually have been a joke, as in "contribute to the [fill in the speaker's name] 'charity' ."
Stand around another minute. His eye godlike above the screen text and blind to my facial expression.
Turn and walk out. Having acquitted myself half-manly, having expended my moral obligation as a citizen under the stars.