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The Old Lighter Under the Shirt Trick

30 Jun

Reading  another blog  reminded me of something that happened in my little world recently and made me think about my first impressions of people…

One weekend, my husband and I had agreed to take a drive to help my mechanical-minded father-in-law pick up an old Jeep he was purchasing from a random seller (online). We drove him there to get the car.

Actually, first we waited for Jeepman to call back to arrange a time.

A time was set and we arrived and waited for Jeepman to return from fishing. There was a boat; there were children; there was chatting.

There was an enthusiastic pit bull that wagged her tail so hard it was like having our legs beaten with a very happy stick. Honestly, it hurt. It may have left bruises, I forgot to check.

The purchase was made. We were to follow in case the Jeep broke down.

And it did break down. About five minutes down the road.

A large pickup truck pulled up beside us, and there was an offer to tow the Jeep out of the intersection. We were towed away from traffic by the pickup guys.

I thought that was kind.

Then, the pickup guys parked and one of them got out and started trying to help fix the car so it would drive.

There was looking under the hood, there was tinkering… there was lying on the pavement underneath the back of the Jeep.

This was some real Good Samaritan stuff. Beyond kind.

I was truly surprised —  and I probably should not have been — not only because the guys took so much time to help out some complete strangers, but because the first guy I saw get out of the truck looked kind of scruffy, like a television version of a drug addict.

Stringy hair past his shoulders, missing teeth, tattoos, cigarette, worn clothes. His t-shirt had a design that seemed to blend into the tattoos on his arms.

He saw me watching him from inside our car. He grinned and waved at me. His hair was blowing everywhere. I should note that I stayed in the car because I thought it would not take long. I was wrong.

I watched as Scruffyman searched the ground after his fresh cigarette blew out of his grip. He picked it up from the sidewalk at the edge of the grass, put it in his mouth and pulled his shirt over the lower half of his face. Then he stuck his other arm under the shirt. His face emerged with a lit cigarette.

I had never seen this before.

I thought maybe he should have a hairband if he was in the habit of smoking with long hair on windy days. Seemed risky.

The Jeep got started again as I reflected on the kindness of Scruffyman.

We went a few miles before the Jeep stopped again.

This time, the Jeep was pushed by hand, and a tow service was called. We sat in my car with the windows open and the radio on. It was windy, hot, boring.

There was a deer across the street running inside an enclosed fence. It disappeared into the tall foliage as if it had never been there at all.

We waited. Sometimes the deer’s head popped up to look at us. We stared back. Sometimes we saw a bit of brown between the leaves, but mostly we saw nothing.

After about two hours of waiting, with assurances that the tow truck driver was “almost there”, we went to pick up my father-in-law’s big truck to tow the Jeep ourselves.

The day was long, but I felt my hope for humanity restored by Scruffyman and his generosity of spirit.

It was a reminder that our outsides do not reflect our insides.

 

 

 

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Ah, to Be Young and Talented

1 Feb

I feel very inspired by this young makeup artist, Stephanie Fernandez, who uses her own face as a surface for her unique creativity.

Some of her work is dark–think zombie film–and some is more abstract or flowery…but all of it is stunning.

http://www.stephaniefernandezart.com/about-me

The Truth of Memory

16 Jul

People will forget what you said
People will forget what you did
But people will never forget how you made them feel.

~Maya Angelou

This is such a deep truth.

Whether we feel joyful, inspired, manipulated, bored, angry, loved, disgusted, or wounded… we remember.

Why did that person make you smile so much? It may be hard to say, but you want to see that person again, don’t you?

What was that fight about? You aren’t sure, but you are not looking forward to talking to that person.

I have been thinking about communication recently and I believe that this quote is the simplest, clearest guideline I have ever read regarding interpersonal communication.

Sometimes I fail in this area.

When I was young, I was very quiet. As I aged and gained experience, I decided to sacrifice some of my caution and privacy and become more open and more casual in my interactions.

Sometimes I think I need some of my caution back, not only to protect myself but to protect others.

I may say the right words with the right intent and still fail to interact in satisfactory way. My timing may have been off. My tone of voice may have been wrong.

By the way, although I am writing about my own social weaknesses, this post was not inspired by my own failures but by someone else’s failure… someone made me feel unimportant . I know it was not intentional, and I know it is not actually true, and yet…there is the feeling in my memory.

I want to create positive emotional memories in others. I am challenging myself to remember Maya Angelou’s words and use them to improve my relationships and first impressions.

Sometimes Those Good Things Do Not Happen, But Other Good Things Do

30 Mar

I had one of those days today.

You know…those days when something very simple is expected to happen, only it doesn’t happen, and the simple thing not-happening means that those grand things that would have made your life so much brighter are also NOT happening.

And still the sun shines, and the flowers bloom, and the children laugh, and a guy named Mike publishes a blog post called Welcome to Blue Sky, Rhode Island. Population: One Totally Plibbed-Out Sixth Grade Girl Who Goes by The Name of None-of-Your-Beeswax-if-That’s-Okay-With-You-Mister-Flibbertijeepers and it surprises the heck out of me with its creativity, widening my eyes and possibly my horizons. (When you read Mike’s post — because you must read it — be sure to notice the tags at the bottom.)

Life is beautiful, even if you are hiding in the closet and feeling plibbed-out.

~ACS

Is It Worth It?

21 Mar

“Let it go. Whatever it is — It’s not worth it.
Focus on your goal. Whatever it is — It IS worth it.
Your mind can only process either one or the other — now, you tell me, which one’s worthy?”Jared Blake DiCroce

I like the way Jared summed up this simple philosophy. (To read more advice from Jared, click on his name)

After so many recent changes in my life, I have come to realize that very little matters to me anymore — or rather, the way I view the things that DO matter has changed dramatically.

People matter.

Health matters.

Freedom and independence matter.

Joy matters.

Doing what is right matters.

… Frankly, anything that does not contribute to the above list is worthless to me now!

Charmed

22 Feb

Charm is the quality in others that makes us more satisfied with ourselves.

~   Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881)

A charming person has a natural talent, a gift for elevating others from the inside out.

Do you have someone like that in your life?

New Adventures

29 Jan

Let’s think the unthinkable, let’s do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.

— Douglas Adams (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency)

wide open spaces

This year I am trying new things, taking more risks, and worrying less.

I am driving in snow storms.

I am taking photographs of sunsets through dirty car windows.

I am thinking a little bit less.

I am taking more action.

Life seems simpler.