Wednesday, September 14, 2011

the tire iron and tamale

right before i went on a four month hiatus from this blog, i had been in 3 car accidents in 3 days (read about it here). it was a really weird time for me and i feel like i have just gotten comfortable again changing lanes or pulling out of my own driveway. even when i wasn't driving, i thought j would leave me after how much of a skiddish passenger i had become, shrieking every other minute and scaring him unnecessarily.

the scariest part about car accidents or car trouble is how helpless and alone you feel. when the first accident happened, no one around us stopped to make sure the other driver or i was ok. the second accident (the one that totaled my car and deployed the airbags) was in my driveway so my neighbor ran out and stayed with me until my husband got home thankfully (i later put a thank you note in his mailbox because it meant so much to me). any time i have ever had any car issues and have been alone, i have been panicked - possibly because i don't know much about cars but also because i am a woman. in those times of need, i noticed how shocking it was that no one ever offered to stop or offer any assistance. the one time i remember someone helping me was when i was in high school. my pathfinder had been having carburetor issues so i was driving to my dad's dealership to get it checked out, when the car died about 45 minutes away from his dealership. while i waited on the side of the road for the tow truck, a woman pulled over. i was nervous at first to see a car approach me and stop but she just rolled down her window and asked if help was on the way. when i told her that a tow truck was coming to get me, she just said that she would wait in her car until it came to make sure that i was ok. this woman was in her minivan and had multiple young children in the car, but she wanted to make sure that a high school girl would make it home alright. i have never forgotten that woman and i hope karma has been good to her, because i am forever thankful to her.

anyways, the reason for this rant is that i read this story in the NY Times a few months ago and saved it in my favorites, because it really resonated with me. the story is about a guy who had a rough few months (oh how i can relate) with car issues. everytime that he needed help, he noticed that no one ever stopped to help and just kept driving past him; "this country is going to hell in a handbasket,” he recalls saying. he finally has an experience where this poor immigrant family stops to help him with a tire blowout, feeds him one some lunch, and refuses any payment for their help. the writer comments on how they were probably the poorest family that passed him that day but they helped him, a stranger, to be on his way and asked nothing in return. the story is great and inspiring, please take a minute to read it here.

i feel like it's been so noticeable lately how compassion and empathy have disappeared in our communities. even the simple hand gesture when someone lets you merge lanes seems hard to find these days. since reading this story, i have tried to live with more intention and awareness to others. thankfully i havent had to witness any horrible accidents or people stranded, but if i do, i will do what i can to help - even if it's just call 911 for assistance. as the immigrant man said to the man as he drove away “today you, tomorrow me," you never know when it'll be your turn on the side of the rode, stranded. if only everyone could make an effort to do their part and pay it forward, the world would shine brighter.

"if you have much, give your wealth; if you have little, give your heart" - anonymous

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