Lend a helping hand… from a distance, of course

On my way home tonight, tired, I pulled up to a stoplight and waved with a shake of my head to a young guy slightly shaking a small red gas can toward me in an almost greeting. As I come to a full stop, I hear him say aloud, “I’m not even asking for any money.”

I crack the passenger window – automatic in my just-picked-up new car!!! – a bit and ask him for what he is asking. He tells me he just needs a ride, his bike was towed, and he’s been trying to get help for hours.

I wasn’t sure about the scenario… I’ve always ridden with the tow truck when having a vehicle towed. Perhaps he parked illegally and had the bike towed.

“Where are you needing to go?” I ask him.

“Just 45 and the beltway,” he says, as though that isn’t a half-hour drive away by highway.

“North or south?”

“South.”

Yup. Half an hour. And in the opposite direction of my home.

I nyackered, and don’t want to be driving for another hour. He is also looking rather sweaty and I just picked up this brand new car. I don’t exactly want a sweaty person in it ever, but especially not at this moment. Not that that would be my reason to deny helping him, but it is a factor. Really, I don’t want to spend half an hour in any car with this unknown kid/guy. His desperation makes his space a little rough and hard to read.

“I’d even give you money like an Über… that’s really all I need.” He has kept talking, but I’ve not been paying full attention to his words.

“What kind of bike do you have?”

“A Suzuki,” he says.

“Yeah, but what kind?”

He tells me some numbers… perhaps a 300 something?… I drive a 300cc Vespa…, so that isn’t a very hefty bike, if that’s what he said… No, he didn’t say 300, but I don’t know what he said…

I didn’t really listen to his words – just that they were the right kind of words, naming an actual type of motorcycle, and hey had no hesitation to them. They were simply a statement in response to a question. And that’s what I wanted.

The light had turned green.

“Shit,” I say, and I pause just a moment before saying, “I’ll meet you at the gas station.” I point as I say this to the gas station on the corner, through the intersection where I was stopped. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do, but I would figure it out without the pressure of a green light and cars waiting behind me.

Seconds later, as I pulled into the lot, I knew I would get him an Über. I didn’t really want to be alone with him – after all, I was then parking in a specifically lighted area next to the building of the gas station, because his vibe was just enough off that I wanted to stay in the light and visible with him around – and I had the added aspects of exhaustion and keeping the car clean.

When he made it over to me, I was leaning on the hood of my car, pulling up Über on my phone. I knew there was a reason I kept this app on my phone, and even logged it back in. Thank you, Universe, World, and God for that.

I pulled up where he wanted to go – and yes, it was 27 minutes away – and ordered a car for him. Why didn’t he just order one himself? He apparently left his phone in his bike. The bike whose carburetor had blown, requiring it to be towed. He had just grabbed his stuff out of the bike in a hurry and let it go, not realizing until afterward that his phone was still with it.

He looked disheveled enough and carried the right odd mixture of bags for this to be believable. Trust me, when I have unexpectedly had to stop somewhere while on my bike (Vespa), I have definitely walked inside with the oddest-looking set of “baggage”.

I didn’t see a helmet with him, but I didn’t want to find out that he rode without one, and a small part of me didn’t want to tear apart his story enough to disprove it. His desperation to get home was real, and that, apparently, was enough for me. Whether his story was true or not, I appreciated his effort in making it all up and having details enough to go with it. Though, in full frankness, he did not strike me as someone to come up with much backstory detail when trying to pull a fast one on somebody. I mean no offense by that statement. Most people wouldn’t come up with much backstory in a scenario ahead of time. So, I was hoping he was in the most people category, and so was just genuinely telling the truth (or, at least, his version of it). But, just in case, I didn’t want to find out that he wasn’t. So, I didn’t ask about the helmet, nor did I ask any further questions. I knew what I needed to know: He needed help, and he was grateful to have found it.

He said he had been there for hours, trying to get help from somebody. Obviously that was to no avail until I stopped for him. I didn’t mention to him that he was in the wrong neighborhood for looking as he did, and expecting someone to pick him up and drove him half an hour away… or anywhere at all. This was a Mercedes and Tesla and Range Rover neighborhood around us right now. They don’t give people rides off the side of the road. But they might give you a dollar or few just for standing there.

If I hadn’t picked up the new car, and had been in my old one, it would have made sense that I had stopped. I in my crappy-looking 2002 Hyundai, with duct tape and peeled paint all over the place, crank windows, and only three door handles that work… it would have been obvious that I didn’t belong in that neighborhood’s genre of people, had I been in that car. But I had just picked up the new one, the one I am leasing, and so I almost seemed to fit into the crowd of shiny expensive cars all around. Nonetheless, I was not one of them, and the fact that I stopped and invested my time (and money) into this kid showed as much (to me, anyway).

I was proud of the fact that I had grown up in that neighborhood, yet was the one who was willing to stop to help, to give my time to someone in need, in a sudden desperate situation. Even though I didn’t wasn’t to mess with it, I found myself doing it anyway, because it just felt necessary for this poor kid’s sake.

I think he was in college, at the University of Houston, because he was wearing a UofH mask and had something else I don’t specifically recall that made him seem like a student there. He also had the physical look and mental space of a college student, or someone very near that age, anyway. He spoke on the younger side of life, not as a college graduate. I think he thought I was the same age, and not over half as much more. But that was okay.

He shared of his concern that Coronavirus was keeping people away, scared to help him. Had my life changed much because of the virus? I told him an extremely brief version of my running incident the other week, and how the people were too afraid to help me as I lay in the road. But, otherwise, my life wasn’t all that different than pre-Coronavirus.

He told me about his name on Facebook while we waited for the car, and I smiled at the genuine sweetness. He was clearly grateful, and he was relieved beyond explanation. There was no denying that.

As he was getting into the Über, he reminded me to ‘”send that request”. I smiled and said comfortably that I probably wouldn’t. He smiled back and said, “Okay,” not so much disappointed as understanding of my honesty and my lack of desire to send him a friend request on Facebook.

Man sieht sich immer zweimal im Leben.

If it is meant to be, our paths will cross again at some point, at least once more.

Twenty-nine minutes later, after I’d gotten home and was already getting ready for bed, about to shower, I received the notification that my Über ride was completed. He had been dropped off right by a gas station that is at the entrance to a neighborhood, and not just at the mall, as he had told me to input for the ride. It was only a few streets from the mall, but on the other side of the highway. I think he probably lives in the neighborhood there, and the driver offered to take him more to where he was going than just the mall as a whole, and on the opposite side of the highway. I was glad to see that. And relieved.

What an adventure, eh? And all I did was go home, and be nice along the way. It cost me only a few minutes of my time and $29.93. Whatever the guy’s real story, I was glad to have been able to help him get where he needed to be. Yes, that is a lot more money to me than to most people. But it felt right and worth it to pay for this kid’s ride home. For whatever reason, he was desperate and needed it. And I had it, and wasn’t desperate.

“Just pay it forward, okay?” He seemed slightly confused, probably thinking I meant actual money for the Über driver. “Do something to help someone else now.” And he understood, both that I wasn’t expecting him to pay me or the driver anything, and that I wanted him to pay forward the kindness.

And that felt right.

So, I’ll see ya when I see ya, Alfred. I hope you get yourself more organized and at ease by then than you were tonight, and I wish you all the best going forward.

Misled Bartender longs to be loved

Can we just talk for a minute about a certain type of character in men: that of the overweight male who manages the alcoholic beverages for everyone?

I’m not sure how I feel about this character, but I tend to notice that I frown or bold my face firmly blank rather often when in the presence of such a person.

On the one hand, he can do whatever he likes – he has the freedom to choose.

On the other, I feel so sad and distraught and, even, angry and annoyed that that is the way the man chooses to be.

You see, it comes across to me as a man who couldn’t find himself valued physically – fitness lacking immensely – and, quite possibly, therefore, intimately, and so he has discovered/chosen his position as drink expert, because he gets to be valued and appreciated by preparing and providing alcoholic beverages for everyone – in a way, he gets all the pretty girls, and, from each, a version of love, appreciation, and intimacy.

Add onto that the often-present obsession with drinking games and their rules, and I can hardly stand to be around this man… he is so adamant that he is the expert on this drinking game or that drinking game… and his skill levels are quite high in just about every drinking game…, as is his alcohol tolerance…

He goes around to the females of the party, and developed special codes with each of them regarding their drinking preferences… he understands them like no one else does…, but only in the sense that he knows what alcohol preferences they have…

And he seems to exude importance and appreciation of himself…

But do these women truly love him as he wants, needs?… or is the situation only getting worse and worse for this man who feels so unloved (outside of the alcohol stuff)?

Every time I cross this man, I have a sense of outrage at his ignorance – meaning that he ignored it – of doing anything valuable with his time and effort, and his misled focus on improving his skills at those two areas.

I mean, Really???!

And I know this is just my view and my opinion… I just wanted to share… the whole reason I am even upset about it is that I don’t value alcohol almost at all in life – I see it mostly as an unnecessary and not-so-valuable distraction for people… it used to be the safe beverage to drink, due to germ issues back in the day, but it seems to me to be utterly abused and somewhat unnecessary in modern-day society.

There are so many better ways a man can spend his time than focusing on alcohol tolerance, combinations, and games… he probably could have picked up a foreign language in all the hours he dedicated to those three things… let alone exercised and gotten loads more fit… :/ ::sigh

Just a thought – I’m not aiming to be rude here; merely aiming to say what I see and feel about this… but do you know what I mean?

Post-a-day 2019

Today’s bumps, I guess

Two not-so-great things happened today at work.  1) I hid under my desk again (second time so far here).  2) I took a stupid typing test, and only got 60 words per minute.

For the desk thing, it’s just a whole new world, working here with these kids.  Education that has felt like second nature to me most of my life, is a piece of education that has somehow eluded a good chunk of these guys, thanks to stereotypes and income levels of families.  The first time I hid under my desk, I think I just wanted to be alone, after a good hour or two of kids being kids, unable to handle sitting in a classroom, even for five minutes at a time (we get up and about in the room a lot during class, excluding test and quiz days).  Today, it was a bit of that, but mostly my distaste at the unfortunate lack of capability of many of these high schoolers to do basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  I took these same classes at their same ages, and yet I flew threw most of this stuff.  Not only was I good at math, but I had friends and family to support me with it, whether I needed the help or not.  These kids just plain don’t.  So, I’m not sure if it was so much the annoyance at the kids being restless today, as it was their social and educational backgrounds that really just have me wanting to curl up and cry, and go away… but ‘out of sight, out of mind’ has never really been one of my supported phrases in life.

And, for the typing test, it was stupid.  It was for doing Aesop’s fables, including their titles and an introduction.  I didn’t have a single error in the final product, because I corrected as I went, but the flow was difficult, because it was different formatting with the titles and such.  Aren’t typing tests traditionally of paragraphs?  Perhaps my belief in that is a false one, but it makes more sense to me for a general standard test than what I had today.   Anyway, it was some free online test, so I don’t expect it to be the best standard… it was just kind of annoying.  Hopefully I am right, and my typing speed is actually faster than just 60 words per minute.  I didn’t even have a comfortable positioning of the keyboard and everything, either, so I don’t really see why I’m upset about it.  I guess I’m just tired and feeling ill today, and that’s bringing me down in more ways than one right now.

Post-a-day 2017