Or it sometimes is. Like when you see a young man with plastic buckets and tubs outside your house, ready to exchange anything for a pair of “sport shoes”. Like when you invite him up to show him a pair of unfashionable sneakers, and he turns his nose up at them, asking if you have Adidas or Nike. Like when you tell him, laughing uneasily, to get lost if he doesn’t like these.
Like when he beleaguers you about knickers or watches or old transistors, and you feel terrible for having to refuse him, for wanting to refuse him. Like when he asks you for a glass of water, and after that, another glass of water, and you raise an eyebrow and shut the door tightly behind you before going off to the kitchen for an entire bottle. So he doesn’t bother you again.
Like when he leaves, leaving behind a bitterness in the air.
When I give, I give on my own terms. Don’t demand, don’t pester me with your needs: I’m not concerned with them. Only with myself, and how I feel at the end of the transaction. Let’s all go home feeling good. Acknowledge my generosity.