Becky Says...

April 2005

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Kindnesses - April 18

Today had kindnesses smoothing some rough Monday-edges. I thought I'd tell you about two of those kindnesses, one from a stranger and one from an old friend.

In one instance of kindness, I was the recipient of an offer of help when I didn't actually need it, but I appreciated the gesture. I was walking less than half a mile from my apartment, coming home from the grocery store. I had gone there from work, so I had two grocery bags as well as my handbag and the totebag I usually take to work with me. And the offer was made by a several-buildings-away neighbor, who thought I was having trouble carrying the bags.

I thanked her, but told her I was just fine, and that the reason I had stopped for a moment was to readjust the straps of the two bags that were on my shoulder (handbag and tote). Which was absolutely true; one of the bags was threatening to take a trip down my arm.

As I got closer to home, I wondered if there was another reason she thought I might need help carrying the load, and realized that there was. When she looked at me, I was probably obviously breathing through my mouth. She probably thought I was out of breath. But I wasn't. I just had a stuffy nose, thanks to spring pollen and molds and forgetting to take antihistamine on my way to work.

The other instance of kindness to be elaborated upon today was done by my friend Chris, who gave me lots of good information and advice about my car. I knew he had been away last week, and would probably be busy dealing with his office machines customers/repair requests most of the day. So even though my phone-shyness does not extend to calling him (I don't know why, it just doesn't), I decided a detailed e-mail would probably be the better option. Doing that, I could lay out all the facts and questions, and he could look back to what I had written as he replied.

And reply he did, shortly after the end of the workday. Turned out his truck had had a similar problem, so he told me what he thought I should ask a mechanic to check. He told me why the problem would make a car do what mine was doing, too. And while he wasn't sure of a local mechanic, he did give me a couple of suggestions for finding out who did this sort of work, as well as the name and number of the mechanic who does repairs for him that are more than he thinks he can handle himself. (That man is an option for me, but his garage is far enough away that it would be a major undertaking to get the car there).

One of the things I like most about Chris is that he has never, in the twenty-some years I've known him, ever talked to me as though I couldn't possibly know what car part (or office machine part) did what. In the beginning of knowing me (I met him when I needed a typewriter repaired), he asked a few baseline questions to establish what I knew already, and has built on that, knowing I would feel free to ask for clarification if I needed to do so. Today's note from him was in the same spirit, which I consider to be a major component of the kindness.

So there you have two of the kindnesses that took place today. Others, though not written of here, were also appreciated. All helped make this day a better one.

Text copyright 2000-2005 Becky