Once we got to Gestalt, we had a conversation about how you can't carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, and how you should do things to help people every week, but you cannot dive into the pit of deep despair that is America's poverty problem every minute. She wiped her tears. New Order was playing, and she immediately switched her focus there.

So the energy we were projecting from one corner of that bar became a mild fear of ass-kickage mixed with the thrill of a fight; misery and heartbreak for a (possibly) downtrodden man; and a mutual love for New Order. On second thought, Gestalt is a perfect name for a bar, because so many things were happening inside at once.

The bar was out of a lot of stuff, so we decided to leave. On the way down the street, we passed a very young girl sitting cross-legged and reading a book. It was really cold outside, so it was obvious that she was homeless. She had a cardboard sign. She didn't look strung out or anything. I was immediately moved to give her some money. In fact, she said, "Do you have any spare change?" without even looking up. She seemed tired of asking and not getting any response. Then I remembered Amélie, and I am ashamed to say that I picked up my steps and passed the young woman before my new roommate could get upset.

"It's okay, Amélie," I said, steering us toward BART.

"Wow," she said, shaking her head. "Why doesn't she get a job?"

This was, of course, not what I expected to hear. In fact, I sort of laughed. "I think I'll never understand you," I said in a friendly way. We walked down the stairs and got onto the train.

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