This isn’t another one of those, “Look at me!” posts. It’s about how surprised by the visceral reaction I had.
As I stood near the creek earlier today, I wanted to stick my feet in there and just sit, my thoughts and my time merging – and let the day drift away. Work was busy and not at all a burden. Don’t tell my bosses, please. Enjoying work is tantamount to stealing. (That’s supposed to be funny.) The moments I had in the creek very early in the morning were still on my mind.
I walked back to the street where the bridge overtakes it. Across the way, I saw a man rifling through the pantry box by the parking lot. He pulled a couple of things out of it. It was then I noticed his old car parked temporarily perpendicularly behind the others. That car had seen some tough miles. He walked back toward it and got inside. I knew I had cash, money set aside for the quarter-eating washing machines at my apartment. I paced across the street and walked around the side of his vehicle. The driver’s window had been taped multiple times. He was leaning over away from me, leaning toward his girlfriend or wife, distracted. She motioned that someone was at the window. He popped the door open, immediately giving an apology and attempting to explain why he was there for only a short respite.
I shook my head and handed him the bill. His face underwent a transformation. First surprise, then shock. “Oh lord, thank you so much.” It seemed like he was about to cry in relief. I’m sure of it.
Completely to my surprise and spontaneously, tears welled into my eyes. I felt a sob start. I walked quickly away, waving backward as I walked, not saying a word.
Life is so effing hard for so many people.
Even people with resources and money, as foreign as that may be. Even for smiling people who pass us during the day. I get so caught up in my life’s drama that I hate to admit sometimes I gloss over people’s humanity. It’s an uncomfortable realization that you’ve been selfish when a word wouldn’t have cost you anything. All of us careen around and foolishly make assumptions about other people’s lives. Most people have facades that they put on in the morning, thinking the facade protects them. It doesn’t – the arrows will get through. Eventually.
This anecdote isn’t about me giving a stranger money. Anyone can do that and a lot of good people I know help in ways that they will never admit to. This story is about how raw I was, unbeknownst to me. I had two such moments today, one in which I transformed a prank into an opportunity to remind someone how important his great sense of humor is and how much he is valued. Even when no one seems to take the time to show it. I busted his balls a little too because that is how a lot of us show our affection.
I’m not even sure how to close this post, other than to say that today had its moments, both happy and spotted with tragic limerick.