“Mr. Tidbit’s Dilemma”, is a heart warming and contemporary tale of two people with nothing in common meeting quite by chance, and of the unlikely bond of friendship that grows between them.
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Mrs. Vladimir who’s about to celebrate her 100th birthday is a refined, wealthy and somewhat eccentric lady, with a colorful yet mysterious past, and Mr. Tidbit a well educated, middle aged independent homeless black gentlemen, and of their scheduled rendezvous three days a week on a park bench located on the northwest corner at 72nd Street and Central Park West.
“Mr. Tidbit’s Dilemma”, is also a tale of a life well lived, of lost loves and of new beginnings, and of a tragic accident on a cold wintry night that changed forever the course of one mans life and of the growing inner conflict that now finds Mr. Tidbit at that proverbial crossroad.
You see Mr. Tidbit is an anomaly, an irregularity, in short and individual who has chosen his way of life, and simply likes living on the streets of New York City, however this new found friendship and his good deeds have now threatened that way of life.
Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary of the English Language, defines de-lem-ma…as “a necessary choice between equally undesirable alternatives”…”a situation requiring a choice but apparently lacking a satisfactory resolution”…in short Mr. Tidbit finds himself, stuck between a rock and hard place.
Mr. Tidbit for the most part is an easy going affable well educated, middle aged, African American male, who suddenly finds himself in that proverbial paradox that requires him to make a choice…and it seems that his good deeds have somehow put him at odds with himself.
To most the choice would seem obvious, and perhaps a blessing, yet to Mr. Tidbit what has occurred to him, can well be described as an intrusion to his way of life…you see Mr. Tidbit has been homeless, and living on the heated gratings and seedy streets of New York City for the better part of 20-years, and while most of us may think of this as a sad and humbling experience, to Mr. Tidbit its his way of life…and not by accident but rather by choice.
And now he finds himself at a crossroads…you see Mr. Tidbit is an anomaly, an irregularity…in short an individual, who has chosen his way of life, and simply likes living on the streets of New York City, and now his good deeds have somehow threatened that way of life.
However, before we get to Mr. Tidbit’s dilemma, it’s worth noting that most of us draw conclusions from what we see around us, what we can observe, what we can touch, and for the most part what we see…is all we see. And if you’ve lived in this town long enough, the homeless become nothing more then another fixture within the fabric of this city, no different then any annoying obstacle that needs to be avoided, and like it or not, Mr. Tidbit has become a part of that fabric…however he’s not that nameless and faceless obstacle that we’ve grown accustomed too
You see, unlike most of his homeless neighbors, Mr. Tidbit seldom drinks, never panhandles, and for the most part is always well groomed, he’s polite and courteous and never takes a “hand-out”, unless he could do a good deed in return…and thus his dilemma.
The wonderful thing about being homeless to Mr. Tidbit’s way of thinking is that all of New York City is his home…uptown, downtown and cross-town, he prides himself a free spirit, and somewhat of a cynosure when it comes to matters of the city, he does occasional odd jobs at several upscale restaurants, filling in at times (for an evening), as a dishwasher, or mopping up the kitchen floor after everyone has left, or perhaps clearing an entrance way to a building after a snowfall, and while he enjoys doing odd jobs he especially likes helping his neighbors and those less fortunate then himself, and of course to Mr. Tidbit’s way of thinking “less fortunate” doesn’t always apply to the obvious.
Of course there are times that being homeless has had its perils and its dangers, New York City can be a very scary place at night, especially for the homeless. And after 20-years on the streets, Mr. Tidbit has learned the hard lessons, and the daily grind of survival, the first few years proved to be a life altering experience for Mr. Tidbit. He was mugged at least a half dozen times within the first 6-months of being homeless, and was hospitalized twice, once being stabbed by a crazed man in a shelter and another time for sleeping out in the elements and contracting double pneumonia.
He learned quickly the risks involved in being homeless, and tried whenever possible to avoid those risks, he seldom ventured into shelters, unless absolutely necessary, and although soup kitchens are a necessary fact of life for the homeless, they’re also a feeding ground for predators.
And he realized that being homeless is a short lived existence, unless you take control of your environment and your life, and he reasoned, it’s always easier to fall victim to your circumstances then to take control of them, and he vowed to live his life with dignity and fair-play.
And while he relishes being a “free-spirit” he’s equally riled at those who consider him a tramp or a vagabond, he is by all accounts a learned man and knows full well the implications of those who simply draw their conclusions of him without knowing him.
And yet he understands their conclusions, after all he was once one of them, a harried New Yorker, rushing, pushing, squeezing into a subway car on the IRT Line, and staring aimlessly into space and avoiding eye contact at all cost, or perhaps burying his face into a newspaper, and hoping nobody would bother him, while all the while, witnessing the underbelly of society within the hollowed tiled tunnels of a subway…yes, Mr. Tidbit understands them, all too well.