The Good Samaritan of the Day

There are truly lots of great people who are willing to help out a stranger.  I should know, I’m usually the one who needs to be rescued.  I’ve had strangers help me change a flat tire at 1 am, jump start my rental car, and walk the final mile of a 1/2 marathon with me – just to name a few.

The path along the canal was busy today.  I love riding my bike and people watching as well as nature watching.  The water levels are high due to the recent storms and the canal looks like a miniature river of bright green and strangely pretty foam.  I think the technical term for it is algae.

I rode out of my driveway knowing I would have just enough time to finish my normal route and then shower before my chiropractor appointment – no more, no less. I could lie and say it’s because I’m an expert at time management; but the truth is that I got lost in what I was working on and decided to risk that nothing would go wrong.

Other than the fact that I only have one working gear setting and my bike desperately needs a tune up the ride was uneventful.  That was, until I spotted a young couple wrestling with a kayak.

When I say wrestling, I mean wrestling.  All ninety pounds of her attempted to pull the waterlogged kayak up the bank while her companion tried to push it out of the water.

I didn’t give it a second thought and I stopped, “Do you need some help?”

“Ummm…yeah…I think we do…” she replied.

Together we maneuvered the vessel further up the embankment.

“Can we try and dump some of the water now?  I think it would make it easier to pull it the rest of the way,” I said.

She tugged, “I don’t know if that will work.”

“Let’s try it,” I said.

We flipped the boat on the count of three.  As I expected –  water drained, the kayak became lighter, and we were able to pull it to shore.  During the process we exchanged first names and tidbits about Nebraska and Minnesota.

I waited to make sure they both made it back in the water with no further problems and waved goodbye.

Norah returned the wave as her kayak slipped under the bridge, “Thank you!  You are the good Samaritan of the day.”

I was late for my appointment, but my chiropractor and I agree it was worth the delay. Everything about it makes me smile.

On the Road Again

the joys of travel

I’m beginning to think I should hang a sign from my rear view mirror similar to the safety record signs in factories, only mine would say “Number of Days Without Getting Lost is ___.” It had been ten days since the Tarot card vs Tax Firm debacle and I was feeling pretty good about the fact that five of those ten days included finding my way around an unfamiliar city without my GPS.

I made it all the way to the last day of my trip until the imaginary counter had to be reset to zero.  I’m not sure how it happened, but in spite of the written directions I picked up at the front desk at the hotel, the map on my iPad, and the detailed verbal instructions from the valet parking guy I still ended up going in the opposite direction of the airport.

Maybe it was because the directions were delivered with a southern drawl so thick I wasn’t sure if he was speaking English, or I lost my concentration when I tried to guess which car would go where as the valet guys shuffled cars around like they were playing Chinese Checkers.  It could be that directions that begin with “go south on…” rather than “turn right at Starbucks” make no sense to me, but whatever the cause, I found myself once again trying to figure out how to turn around when possible.

One thing I’ve learned is that if I stay calm and remember to breathe I can usually figure things out. And in some cases I can even save twenty cents a gallon by topping off the tank of the rental car while lost rather than waiting until I was closer to the airport.  Needless to say, I was happy when I saw the exit marked Airport Boulevard.

I followed the signs to the rental car drop off which seemed very clear up until I had to choose between All Day Parking and Short Term Parking.  I’m not sure if the guy who drove up beside me and shouted “Rental return?” while he pointed toward the All Day Parking option was frustrated or amused by my obvious confusion but I was glad he shouted directions instead of just honking his horn like the previous car that passed by me.

I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw the number forty-seven flash on the luggage scale.  I’d managed to transfer five pounds from my suitcase to my carry on and although I try to be an optimist, I was fairly certain I wasn’t going to have the ninety dollar overweight fee waived two flights in a row.  As the gate agent reached for my boarding pass the lights in the airport flickered, the fans whined, and the airport was suddenly silent and unlit.

She handed me my ticket without looking up, “Y’all got lucky, everyone behind you has to wait for the whole system to reboot.”

Twenty minutes later they opened one security lane, powered by a back-up generator. I passed through the metal detector without so much as a beep only to learn that I’d been randomly selected to receive a special screening. I seem to be “randomly selected” for security screenings almost as often as I get lost.

I felt more than a little exposed standing in the rectangular glass cube between the security lanes and was relieved when it turned out that unlike my last trip only my bags and not my body had been selected for inspection.   I settled down some when I saw there were no changes to the schedule and I was breathing normally by the time I dropped off my duffle bag at the end of the jet way.

All seatbelts had been fastened and the flight attendants had readied the cabin.  Just as the pilot announced, “At this time all passengers must be seated,” the woman in front of me stood and her husband climbed into the aisle with a toothbrush in hand and headed toward the lavatory.

I’m not sure what was more comical, the fact that he brushed his teeth on the plane without regard to the pilot’s announcement or watching him maneuver his six foot plus body into the window seat while his wife remained seated.  I’ll give him this, he did manage to take care of his dental hygiene and still snap his seatbelt buckle in time for the final pass through the cabin.

Class Begins at 6:45

Jingle, jingle, ching, ching….  flip FLOP, flip FLOP…  thwap…SIGH…PLOP.  Fifteen minutes into Yoga class, the door opened and not only filled the room with unwelcome light, but the latecomer to the class chose to set up her space on the opposite side of the room and right next to me. 

Even if you’ve never taken a Yoga class you’d probably guess that it’s a quiet practice and the sounds of keys jingling, flip flops flapping, mats unrolling, and bodies plopping after the class has started, isn’t conducive to the meditation.  I tried my best to keep my eyes forward and remain ‘in the moment,’ but I’m certain that I let an ‘un-yoga-like’ glare or two escape her way.

I was already on a kick about gym manners after my recent experience in the exercise room at work.  I won’t say that the experience was more annoying than someone talking on their cell phone while walking on the treadmill (which was also going on) but the periodic eruption of laughter from the guy on the elliptical next to me was only slightly more tolerable.

I generally think most people could use an overhaul in the manners department.  Almost daily you can read an article about work/cubicle etiquette, internet protocol, how much to tip, and even divorce decorum.  Granted some of it is obscure and not all that useful, like according to Foodies who follow Emily Post, there are times where it’s appropriate to use a fork while eating bacon. (Who knew?).

In spite of the plethora of articles, posts, and advice columns, as a culture, we don’t seem to ‘get it’ and rudeness abounds.

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone when I say I have no desire to hear one side of a conversation about a stranger’s marital problems, medical issues, or plans for the weekend, nor do I care to listen to someone’s personal laugh track as they watch their favorite sitcom while they are plugged into an iPhone. And goodness knows that no one wants to hear me sing along at the top of my lungs to my favorite playlist.

It seems pretty simple to me and boils down to common sense and a couple of basic principles: be aware of your surroundings and treat others as you would want them to treat you. After all, aren’t those things we all learned in kindergarten?