Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Kindness of Strangers

The kindness of strangers is something I’ve always found difficult to come by. I’m a bit (ok, very) gullible and too trusting right off the bat. I’ve been taught since I was a young girl that strangers are not to be trusted and sadly, as I’ve grown up I’ve found that to be generally true. People can truly be cruel for the one reason that they don’t know you, so it’s not their responsibility to care about you. It makes it really difficult to have any faith in the human race at all.

However, something happened to me this week that helped me think perhaps, all people, aren’t all bad, all the time.

My sister’s husband had been babysitting my kiddo for me while we went running. Recently he got a job out of the city so is only home two days a week. We either needed to find another sitter or purchase/borrow a jogging stroller. We thought getting a jogging stroller would be easiest. I started looking at Craigslist, which is not something I use on a regular basis. My problem with Craigslist is, I get too excited about the purchase. “Wow! Something I want for cheap! Awesome!” I forget to ask questions and to remember that people online are usually mean (so it’s funny that I have a blog, yes?). If something turns out to be crap the chances of the seller taking it back and giving you a refund are really slim.

So I started looking for a jogging stroller, trying to remember to have very little faith in people, and be untrusting. I found one that wasn’t too far away and a pretty decent price, since those suckers cost over $200 brand new. So I went out, with my cash to purchase a new to me stroller. The woman selling it was really nice; she showed me how to use it and fold it up. I thanked her, gave her the money and put the stroller in my trunk.

The following day my sis and I went to use the new stroller. To my dismay one of the back wheels was completely flat. I felt a little disappointed but thought maybe it would work out anyway. I put the kiddo in the seat to discover a sizable tear. Not just a little oppsy tear, a big rip at least five to six inches long. Now I was terribly dismayed. I felt taken advantage of, like a fool, because I didn’t ask enough questions and didn’t inspect in detail the whole stroller before I bought it. And while it was cheaper than if I had purchased a new one, I can’t really afford to let purchases over $10 slide.

We folded it back up and stowed it in my sister’s garage. I thought for awhile about whether or not to send the woman an email asking for my money back. I didn’t think she’d do it. I was convinced she’d turn into some kind of harpy and laugh in my face, saying it was my fault I hadn’t noticed the flaws. I had some fictional conversations in my head, so I could come back at her when she turned mean. Like I said, I had myself convinced that she’d turn me away and laugh at me, waving my money mockingly behind my back.

That night I nervously composed an email to the woman. I’d been thinking about it since that afternoon’s attempted jog. I decided that being mean wouldn’t be prudent. I’d give her the benefit of the doubt. I told myself she hadn’t been trying to hustle me and the worst thing she could say to my email asking for a refund was no.

So I wrote the email, hoping that she would at least tell me no kindly. She responded minutes later with apologies! She agreed to take the stroller back! And give me my money back! I was happy and thanked her for her kindness, but I’ll be honest; until I had that stroller back in her driveway and the money back in my wallet I wasn’t sure I would get a refund.

Upon reflection on these events I can’t help but feel a little sad. We expect so little from our fellow humans. We expect to be disliked, left out, pushed around and taken advantage of. Isn’t that a terrible thing? How can we be kind to each other without being taken advantage of? How can we be trusting of each other, but not be swindled? I am striving to be the change I want to see. I’m trying to be loving to everyone, but it such a challenge when at any moment I could be screwed by that.

What do you do to show kindness to strangers?

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Growing Up, Growing Old

This past weekend I went south to visit my parents. My parents moved to Oregon about two years ago and when they did, they graciously carted up about a million boxes full of my crap. Not crap that’s really terribly useful to me now, just a lot of my stuff I accumulated growing up. So while I was there I went through about six boxes of said crap. It was mostly papers, and school things; the kindergarten box was especially entertaining. Mom even managed to dig out my yearbooks from Middle School, the High School yearbooks are still missing, but I’m sure they’re in one of my many boxes.

As I looked through the boxes I noticed a few things; one was that I’ve always been a writer. There were mounds of stories, I even discovered a book series I’d written staring the characters Devil and Deviletty; two mischievous but ultimately good people. Another thing I noticed was that I’ve always been a creepy writer. One of my guidance counselors in school (high school or middle school I can’t remember which) repeatedly expressed concern to my mother. I’m glad those concerns fell upon deaf ears, because I don’t consider myself a particularly dark person. I just tend to write about darker things, monsters, zombies. I suppose writing is how I explore my darker feelings, so it can be a bit scary at times. In any case the last thing I realized is how old I am.

I know I’m not pushing 80 or anything like that, but while going through all this stuff I suddenly realized, I’m not a kid anymore. I’m a full fledged adult, an adult who loves video games, comics and cartoons, but I digress. Even having Jack didn’t make me feel that old. It’s very strange, how I felt looking through all those boxes. It seemed as though all the events that have taken place in my life are all bunched together and not separated by years. It sounds like a cliche but it seems like just yesterday I was a tiny, intimidated sixth grader wandering the halls of Nellie N. Coffman Middle School, a freshman at CCHS, a senior at CCHS, a freshman in college, it all seems so close, so how can it be so far away?

I wonder if this feeling will continue to overcome me as I grow older. Will I feel old when Jack turns 16, when he goes to college, when gets married? Or will this feeling of him being an almost two year old still feel too close for him to be so old? It’s so strange this duality of feeling. Feeling totally prepared to be a good mother, and yet not really believing I’m old enough…

Hello Deadline

I realized today that it’s Friday and I need to put up a post. I don’t have one…

This week went by really fast. So sorry about the lack of post. I’ll tell you all though that I started a new story yesterday after I got unblocked. Pretty sure that’s what I’ll be publishing next.

Welp, have a good weekend!

The Game

“Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” Ever heard that phrase? I have, but always in movies, or from friends poking fun, never as a serious statement. Lately I’ve started to take it more seriously.

I haven’t been single long, only about a year and a half now. In that time I’ve come to hate “the Game.” During my new singlehood I’ve had one relationship and two “things.” They weren’t relationships. I’m not sure what they were, but that’s not the point. The point is, that in all three of those instances there was “the Game.”

We all play it. You can lie and say you don’t, that’s your prerogative. I used to do that, say I was a straight shooter, always up front with what I wanted, never attempting to manipulate or change anyone. It was only recently that I realized I actually do play games. Just because you don’t realize you’re playing “the Game” doesn’t mean you’re not.

Things start simply enough; you like a person and they either like you back or not. If they do like you back, things progress and then gradually “the Game” starts. For me it usually starts when I think I really like someone. I start over analyzing everything, every word, every action, every unanswered call. You may think this is just part of being a girl and sure, in part it is. But the other part is played by the second party and thus “the Game” that you thought you didn’t play begins. There are several different “Games.” Here are just a few of my least favorite.

The Chase

Person A will pursue Person B on a regular basis, showering them with compliments and touting their own good qualities until Person B finally says yes to a date or whatever it was they were pursuing. Suddenly Person A looses interest and you never hear from them again.

The String Along

In this game Person A and Person B are both interested in each other. But for whatever reason Person A can’t seem to make up their mind about things. They are constantly changing their tune between, “let’s be together,” to “I never want to see you again,” to “let’s be friends” and back again. It goes on this way until someone has the wherewithal to just walk away and treat it as a bad job.

The Quiet Game

I. Hate. This. Game. Like most of the “Games” it starts nicely. It seems you’ve found a good one, a diamond in the rough as it were. Things go well for awhile then something shifts … but no one says anything. Person A and Person B are thinking separate thoughts and wondering what the other is thinking or assuming they know, but nothing is being said. Suddenly this person you thought was wonderful is playing games with your heart and your head. Not wanting to come off like a crazy person you continue to not say anything until things just disintegrate.

These “Games” are stupid. I hate playing them, I hate being played and I’m tired of how they make me feel, which is sad, unattractive and generally lame. I have so many other, better things to do with my time, like writing, knitting, playing with my son, watching anime, heck even getting my Comicon art framed seems so much better than playing these ridiculous games.

So I decided something this week. I’m not going to play anymore. I’m not sure entirely what that means yet. If I’m off the market for the time being or if I’m just going to strive towards being more honest and less afraid of the reactions that honesty might get. Or maybe it means just getting better control of my heart, not letting it run away with things all the time. All I know is that I hate “the Game” and I’m becoming less and less fond of “the Player” as well.

I’m done, I don’t want to play anymore. I know that means I’ll never win, but I’m so tired of loosing.