Monday, July 21, 2008

What You Want... Baby I Got It

People, people, people... we need to talk... *heavy sigh* Welcome once again to the hallowed odeum of the Church of the Wayward Gypsy. Sit. Stay. Good flock.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T... find out what it means to me...

Whatever happened to our old friends Common Courtesy and Basic Decency? Is it so much to expect from each other? I'm beginning to think so. Maybe I was the only one "raised right." Well, me and a handful of others. A small handful. So small. Baby hands. Premie-baby hands.

Whatever happened to acknowledging a gift when it's bestowed? Easy really... a heartfelt thanks (hell, here's one where you get to fake it if you can't make it come), a phone call, a short note... no? How about giving recognition for a kindness? This morning at the gas station (poor starvin' Birddog!), a gentleman (there's a word you don't get to hear anymore!) opened the door for me. I looked him in the eyes, smiled and said, "Thank you!" He appeared shocked at my gratitude. Understandable. I've seen similar situations where the person shuffles by, barely muttering a curt "thanks." Said gent was obviously a blue collar worker, he being scruffy lookin' already at 5:30 a.m. No matter. He earned my R-E-S-P-E-C-T by extending a Common Courtesy based on Basic Decency, and I returned the gift. The exchange took perhaps 10 seconds.


Last week as I walked up to the entrance of the grocery store where the shopping carts are kept, I arrived seconds ahead of an elderly woman. Rather than grab a cart, jam past her and head for the goods, I grabbed a cart and handed it off to her with a smile and a Vanna White-eqsue sweep of the hand. The woman was very obviously utterly delighted. Score another for CC and BD! Again, the exchange took all of 10 seconds.

Again I haul out the ol' saw and ask, why is it that people (strangers) don't say hello to each other any more as they pass on the street? What is so dadgum difficult and dangerous and...and... invasive about nodding in someone's direction and saying, "howdy" ? ! It's a lonely old world, don't be so friggin' cheap.

See... I'm not talking about huge chunks of time out of the day, or about efforts that take gargantuan strength, or buckets of cash (the gods know I'd be totally screwed on CC and BD if they did!). As the saying goes, it's the little things.

Now, before y'all roll your eyes and give me the look, I will raise my hand and be the first to acknowledge that I'm no paragon of virtue. Yessiree, friends n' neighbors... I get busy, I get crabby, I forget. Sure, I do. However, by and large, I try hard to be aware of my fellow humans, and the notion that I - faulty and fallible as I am - may very well be the only beacon in someone's day. Why? It's ingrained in me - yeah, I was "raised right." Beyond that though, I've been on the flip side. After all, I'm the girl who woke up this morning, disenchantedly feeling like no one in the world ever gives a rat's ass about anything, and then suddenly there's a scruffy guy, holding what was surely a really lousy cup of gas station coffee and the door for me.

Thanks dude, whoever you are, for being my beacon on the all too dark shore of oh-god o'clock this morning.

Y'all get on out of here now. Go forth. Be kind.

3 comments:

  1. Well buddy, I guess my Momma "raised me up right", cause on Friday I had my hands chock full of decals that I had to ship off, and manuevering my way into the post office is no easy feat with their doors so heavy and hard to open that without thinking about it, you could strain your pooper if you don't do it right, well, there was a lady that saw my soon to be problem, rushed ahead of me, opened the first set of doors, and then opened the second set of doors, and she did this with a huge smile on her face...and my comment to her was, "thank you so very much for your kindness", well, she was stunned at my comment,and you could see that she was visably at a loss for words...moral of the story, one unselfish act of kindness no matter how small, given freely, and then acknowledged, made a normal day special for two strangers. Something that small made my whole day...this should be the "norm", instead of it being the exception..I don't know when simple acts of kindness started dying out, nor why, but, maybe if it is brought back by you, and me, and all of us, it will live and thrive again.
    Tonto

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  2. Yep, Tonto... you sure was... you're part of the very small premie-sized handful I referred to.

    We're all in this together, baby!

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  3. One of my favorite Dad quotes EVER was regarding this very subject: "Smiles are free-- they cost you NOTHING-- and the smile (or kind gesture) you give someone today might be the only blessing of kindness someone receives for a long time..."

    I can honestly say that is probably the one Tom-ism that pops into my mind with the greatest frequency. Such simple advice, and to a smiling fool like me,99% painless most of the time ;-)

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