When my mother created the Facebook event “Anne’s Birthday,” before my party, she wrote in the description: Come have fun with friends! And please bring cans for the food bank!
What a sweet woman.
To me this was quite reasonable. When you have any group setting, it’s wise to have your attendees bring some kind of donation and send it off after the party. It’s good energy.
But there must have been a miscommunication. Because days, weeks, and now a month after my birthday party, my co-workers still give me canned food.
Sometimes it is a single can:
“Hey, I was thinking of you yesterday. Here’s a can.”
“Hey, I found some Campbell’s chicken noodle soup in the pantry. Thanks for being so great.”
“Hey, do you collect old T-shirts and shoes as well?”
Sometimes it is a 100-lb garbage sack:
As I was walking out of the restaurant to catch the train, my co-worker shouted, “Anne! Wait!”
I looked back to see my co-worker dragging a heavy garbage sack (a garbage sack!) across the floor. Clank, clank, clank.
“Are those,” I started, “…Wait.”
“Yes they are!” she gasped. “Cans!”
She said the word “Cans!” like a 4 year-old girl yells “Ponies!”
My mouth dropped as I watched her stop, catch her breath, and resume dragging the garbage sack.
“I was thinking about you the other day and thought I’d look in my pantry for any canned food!” she said. She smiled with gleaming eyes, like she just fed a hundred starving children.
I lost my ability to talk. By now I had missed my train. It would take me fifteen minutes to walk across the street with the sack anyway. I forced a smile and said thank you as I took hold of the sack.
“It’s so great that you do this, Anne. Such a good thing to do.”
Dumbstruck and confused, I waved goodbye and heaved the garbage sack across the street, praying the light would not turn green.