17 December 2012

The Kindness of Strangers, part 1

Sometimes I need to remind myself that not all people suck. I was thinking of reblogging these posts early last week as a way to shake off some recalled disappointments.

Then the shootings in Connecticut on Friday reminded me there's a broad terrifying spectrum of ways people can let you down. My disappointments pale in comparison.

Still, I turn to the kindness of strangers. They allow for kindness that can be its purest, with no strings attached. Not all people suck.

Three Breaks: Part 1 redux

About 20 minutes from the outskirts of Tallahassee, my seat belt grabbed me as my car suddenly ground to a halt amidst an empty rural highway; I had been on my way to buy tickets for a huge multi-state lottery, one which did not include Florida but did include Georgia. At first, I thought a tire had blown, but the steering didn't pull as my sedan hiccuped to the side of the road. Upon inspection, all the tires were fine. Nothing seemed awry under the hood, but that didn't necessarily mean much. One of these days, I really am going to take a class in auto repair.

The divided highway stretched to the horizon with nothing in sight; it had been many miles since I'd passed anything. Somewhere ahead was the gas station where I'd planned to buy tickets, but I had no idea how much further it was.

I restarted my car and drove a few feet, but I could tell from the aggravated sputtering that driving was making Red worse. I parked and set out the orange traffic triangles I'd gotten for Christmas, assuming they'd blow away, put a sign on my dash, grabbed my water and sunglasses, and started walking north.

The sky darkened and the wind picked up. Rain had been forecast for the past several days but none had fallen yet. Cars and trucks whizzed past without pause. Even if someone did stop, I had no plans to hop in some stranger's car.

Lush green weeds and grasses tickled my calves as I walked along the pavement's edge. There were still no structures within view: not a single house, billboard, fence, nor road sign. On the southbound side of the highway, a tan minivan reduced speed as it drove past. I looked over my shoulder and saw it traverse a dirt path crossing the grass divider: the minivan would soon be upon me.

If an abduction was imminent, I could only hope to outrun my assailant. The fields by the highway were broad with deep grasses, and trees lined the far edges. Assuming I could reach the wood, it would only provide cover. On the road, other motorists might see me and try to help.

There was no time left to strategize: the minivan was rolling slowly beside me...

Can't wait until tomorrow? Read the original posts.

A year ago on TTaT: Georgia O'Keeffe: Nature and Abstraction

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