Sunday, August 29, 2010

Thank you, India. Thank you, terror. Thank you, disillusionment.

You know, sometimes you find opportunities for gratitude exactly where you'd expect;
a coach who helps your kid, a kid who actually does all the stuff expected and then goes an extra mile, a kind friend who once again shows love to you with a gesture that speaks of an intimate knowledge of your heart.

these opportunities arrive camouflaged, well-hidden in the shadows of annoyance, frustration, time-pressures, and stereotypes.

So to you, mean mom at Target who was screaming at her kids, cussing at the clerk, and generally being a nightmare of a human being, to you I say thank you.

When I saw you, I was aghast in a superior and distant sort of way. Your dirty-faced kids, scruffy appearance and foul-mouthed ranting at the lady from the store about coupon specials made me feel a haughty sort of pity for your family.
When I ended up in the check-out line behind you I was annoyed. I had one item, and the $5 bill to pay for it in my hand, waiting impatiently, and your rude, loud urchins were unpiling a UNICEF life flight quantity of store-brand microwaveable quasi-food items and mac n' cheese onto the convey belt.
When the older kid decided to shove the cart as hard as she could into her little brother and he fell back toward me, it was instinct to catch him. The fact you didn't turn around at his yell surprised me a little, but at least you did decide to look when you heard me ask if he was ok.
Your whole face changed when you saw the red mark on his forehead. Instead of some heinous *itch at the store you suddenly looked to me like a fellow mommy who loves her boy.
When you thanked me and apologized and I said you were welcome, then added, "We've all been there," I pretty much meant it.
you stepped out of the shadows I'd cast all around you and created that moment.
"You only have that one thing? Why don't you just go ahead of us."

It wasn't a kidney, it was one moment of your time, but in giving it to me you reminded me of how stereotyping closes my mind and heart and no one deserves to be regarded that way, even if I don't act on it noticeably.
So thank you, thank you for being a better person than I was being in that moment.
Thank you for reminding me that most of us are just doing the best we can at any given time to make it through life and the benefit of the doubt is really the very least I owe my fellow-humans.


quilly said...

Moments like this always leave me humbled -- but not for long enough it seems because I've had many moments like this. Alas.

furiousBall said...

and thank you for noticing that good.

you good people chica.

lime said...

nicely done, by both of you in the end.

S said...

A very good lesson for all of you. I hope her kids were paying attn.

I am reminded of my wedding which took place at the home of Marvin Gaye, after he was dead, and the home rented to my friends, of course.

Well, since we were having our wedding in a very fancy part of Topanga Canyon, we had some very wealthy party crashers, and their very wealthy little children.

Well wasnt I surprised to see these very wealthy children scrounging in the bachelors refrigerator for scraps of food...they found some shriveled grapes and were eating them ferociously!

I think the parents were so used to having others take care of their kids, that they never realized these kids needed FOOD, snacks, time, love, attn, and FRESH GRAPES!

I won't ever forget those incredibly rich, and incredibly needy children.
BTW, they were the S & H Greenstamps family, The kids are in their late 20's now. I hope they buy their kids fresh grapes.

Anonymous said...

Well played...

Jocelyn said...

And suddenly, I have a new favorite Logophile post. Beautiful stuff, Woman.

Anonymous said...

oh...thank you Alanis Morrisette...

actonbell said...

Great post!