The Kindness of Strangers

I’ve been wrapped up in my own little world lately, worrying about the
things I always worry about (money, the future, my fading dreams). As
such, then, I didn’t learn anything, since I haven’t been paying
attention to the things I could have been learning. But such
introspection can only continue for so long, for the world has a way of
forcing you to snap out of yourself and pay attention.

Sometimes the Universal “Hey!” is subtle, such as when a friend comes to
you in need, or it can be calamitious, as when terrorists fly planes
into towers. Most often, though, the “hey!” is a simple, unexpected
anamoly that only interrupts your routine. But, in my experience, that
“hey!” is always accompanied by a realization, an opening, a learning.

Such an event occured to me last night, as I drove home from the gym. I
was thinking about a lot of things, mostly grousing about the
inconsiderate behaviors of other people, especially when behind the
wheel of their cars. (There’s something about being encased alone in a
steel bubble that turns people into self-absorbed, rude, aggressive, and
inconsiderate apes. I’ll be honest–I’m not immune to this effect–I
find myself wanting to “show them all”, but I try not to allow myself
the luxury of thinking that I’m better then them.) But I digress…

I was thinking about people, and the green pickup truck ahead of me
drove over a muffler in the middle of the road. I did not see it until
the truck passed over it, and by that time it was too late for me to
swerve around it, or even to stop. My tiny ground-hugging Saturn Ion
flew right over it, and that damn muffler immediately logded itself
under my engine. (The dickweed who bought this fancyass shiny chrome
muffler did not install it properly. Thanks a lot, asshole.) It
scraped against the asphalt with a loud grinding noise as I forced my
car to stop, pulling over to the nonexistent shoulder. I freaked. I’d
been in so many different, expensive, car-related fiascos in the past
few years, I was deathly afraid my transmission would be damaged, again.
The dollar bill signs were flashing past in my mind’s eye.

I looked under the engine and the muffler was firmly wedged under my
car, the crooked pipe-thingy lodged against my axle. I was afraid to
budge, lest that cause more damage. I panicked, not just out of fear
for the potential damage to my car, but because I’m deaf and have
limited access to emergency assisstance. I’m lucky though, that I was
able to text Brian to help me, but how long would it be until he read my
message?
So I paced on the curb, trying to recollect myself and think. People
kept passing me, with looks of curiosity, but little of concern.
“Figures!” I said to myself. Just as I start to think that maybe Brian
didn’t get my message, someone approaches me from the other side of the
road; a pretty black lady dressed in scrubs. I’ll call her Ms. C. She
asked if I was okay, if I needed help, and all that stuff. I was
suprised, of course. I really wasn’t expecting anyone to pull over,
though I hoped someone would. She helped me call the police (no answer!
Wtf?) She helped clean out my trunk (stuffed full of camping supplies
for the weekend) so that I could get the jack under the spare tire. She
stayed with me until Brian arrived, then went on about her life.

Brian got the jack working and by the time the police arrived (someone
not Ms. C or Brian called my situation in–another suprising helpful
hand!), Brian had manged to pull the damn muffler out.

As I calmed down, I realized that yeah, there are a lot of rude,
inconsiderate, and self-absorbed people out there, but there are plenty
of good people too, who actually do care about others. It doesn’t
matter if you’re surrounded by assholes, because somewhere near is
someone kind. There are enough good people out there to balance out the
assholes.
We all know that, but sometimes its easy to forget, especially when you
become wrapped up in and absorbed in your own troubles and cares.

Perhaps it would pay for all of us to not be so worried about our
lives? Would we then be better, more aware, and kinder people?

By the way, my car is fine. No damge was done. Some of you probably
already figured that out.

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6 thoughts on “The Kindness of Strangers

  1. What a relief your car wasn’t damaged and that you weren’t injured! I’m so glad that you got some help. For every inconsiderate a-hole out there, there is at least one good person out there to balance him out. The universe likes balance. Remember that. 🙂

  2. What a relief your car wasn’t damaged and that you weren’t injured! I’m so glad that you got some help. For every inconsiderate a-hole out there, there is at least one good person out there to balance him out. The universe likes balance. Remember that. 🙂

  3. Glad to hear someone was so helpful. Honestly I wouldn’t have stopped. I would have #77 for ya though!! I’m cool like that!

    Thanks for playing the contest. Marilyn is a contender!

  4. Glad to hear someone was so helpful. Honestly I wouldn’t have stopped. I would have #77 for ya though!! I’m cool like that!

    Thanks for playing the contest. Marilyn is a contender!

  5. I know how you feel.. the other day I was stuck right smack in the middle of the driveway at a gas station!! Here I am, a women looking good, baby in car, husband out of town and surrounded by a shitload of men (boys) pumping gas and no one offers help!! Finally, a women, who worked in the store, gets the manager and helps me push the truck out of the way. Gee and to think that men were raised to help a women in need, what a crock!

    Hey Rachel, I’m glad you ok tho.

  6. a few months ago my daughter (20) had a flat tire out in the middle of nowhere. It was raining. She had just pulled her jack out of the trunk when a gentleman pulled over and changed her tire for her. In the rain.

    there are some good samaritans out there.

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