“Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round, and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies:—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”
-Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
I don’t know if it’s the season (impending holidays of the kith-and-kin variety) or that I’m still in the early phases of Disgustingly Happy Little Married Couple-dom (and, sorry, I know that’s gross, but stay with me!), but I have begun to see and experience many more little moments of happiness on a semi-regular basis. Let me elaborate: you know how sometimes, as you’re scraping yourself out of bed, trudging through your day, and bemoaning the fact that it is pitch-fricking-black outside by 5:30pm, you get a little flash of “we’re all ok”? I seem to be having way more of these than usual these days.
Take, for instance, a recent account of Nice People on the Internet. I wasn’t personally involved in any of these interactions (although, trying-to-be-a-good-blog-citizen that I am, I did comment), but just reading a story of people– essentially complete strangers– going out of their way to be helpful and nice, made me think that maybe people aren’t that terrible, after all. It seems simple enough, right? You have something, someone needs or wants something, and you give it to them. Not because you have to, but because you want to. Because you want to help them out, to solve a problem of theirs, no matter how small or silly-seeming.
I’ve been trying to have this same attitude recently; give and help where you can, remember that everyone is dealing with their own bubble of stress/problems/dear-god-who-knows-what, and do more good than harm. Instead of giving the finger to someone who cuts you off in traffic (and y’all know how much I love to do that), give them a thumbs-up and continue singing along to the Glee CD you have blaring in the car. Be patient, and be nice.
And it comes back! Here is my proof. I’ve needed to replace one of my front turn signals, the one that would be the biggest pain to replace (as it is almost entirely blocked in by the placement of my battery), and had just not “gotten around to it yet.” I finally bought the cheapie bulb, resigned myself to the fact that Volkswagen are jerks and will just tell you to go to the dealer for what amounts to a $2 fix, and armed myself with two kinds of screwdrivers (from my very own toolbox, because I am a badass). Sure enough, the Jetta was determined to be a jerk– I fought little plastic pieces, clawed at the black box that contained the defunct bulb, got my hands dirty, but made very little progress toward my goal. Seeing my struggle, this man– who I had never seen, met, or interacted with before– approached and offered to help. “Let me just go get some sockets, and we’ll take out the battery and get that bulb in,” he told me. He returned with an arsenal of tools (and no fear of my car’s battery, which for some reason terrifies me) and, within ten minutes, I had a fully functioning turn signal.
We introduced ourselves, I thanked him profusely, and then we parted. I don’t know that I will ever see him again, but I am surprised at how surprised I was that he offered to help. He didn’t have to, of course, but he saw me clawing at the insides of my car and knew that he could be of assistance. I may be attributing this too much to the Magic and Wonder of the Human Heart (it’s all the dang Christmas commercials…I am terminally sentimental), but come on. Let’s be appreciative that not everyone is a jerk all the time. We don’t have to hug and share sundaes all the time, but be nice, dammit.