Friday, September 11, 2009

Have a nice day

I got up this morning as usual and prepared to go for a run. It was sprinkling just a little bit so I decided that I'd do a little housework and wait to see if it cleared. Around 9:00 AM, someone rings my front doorbell and starts knocking on the door. I peeked out the blinds and saw a 20 something male standing there kind of shuffling around. I know I shouldn't have opened the door, but I did and he immediately went into some spiel about his mother being in a bad accident and how he needed gas and/or money for gas so that he could go to the hospital to see his dying mother. He was crying and very dramatic about the whole thing. He told me he owned a pressure washing business and that if I gave him gas or gas money to go see his dying mother, that he'd be happy to come back and pressure wash my house and driveway. I told him that wasn't necessary because at this point, all I really wanted to do was get rid of him because he made me nervous with all his shuffling around. He also had really bad teeth--they were black and this gloomy gray color and they kind of freaked me out. I immediately chastised myself for being judgmental and told him I'd check in my garage to see if we had any gas. I closed the door and locked it as quick as lightening.

In the back of my head, I knew that I wanted to tell him straight up to just go away, but I've been trying to find my sense of compassion towards other human beings again. And I've been working hard at removing fear from my life because when I stopped to think about all the things I fear, I found the list was pretty endless. I hated knowing that a lot of my life has been defined by fears that simply stole away time I could have used being happy and productive. There is so much to be afraid of and I think our society plays on those fears so that they can push through agendas that do not benefit any of us. Lately, my mind has been filled with fears about our disastrous financial situation, and the swine flu fear mongering seems to escalate by the minute. It's just endless and I decided I did not want to participate in all that fear anymore so when I feel the panic rising, I retrain my brain to calm myself down about whatever it is that is making me feel scared. I've been very successful at stamping out fears over which I ultimately have no control, and as a reward, I feel much happier.

So when I closed the door on the jittery man out front--even though a part of me sensed something wasn't right--I decided I'd give him money because I tried to think how I would feel if I was alone in the world and I needed to get somewhere and I didn't have any money to buy gas. I thought it wouldn't hurt me to give him money and whatever gas I had in the gas can in the garage because I have enough of both and could get more any time I wanted more. When you're blessed with riches, it costs nothing to give some away--I truly believe that. I tried to see past his exterior into his spirit where I know goodness lies in all of us, and decided I could trust this person I did not know for more than 3 minutes.

As I was digging out my wallet, my son, who was home at the time, came out of his room and asked me what I was doing so I told him the story. He informed me that a cop was out front and, of course, started in on the "don't ever open the door for anyone" lecture as if I was the child and he was the parent. The cop rings our doorbell and asked us if we knew this man and we told him no and I recounted the tale he had told me just moments before. He said he'd been called by some other neighbors and that he was going to look into the background of this fellow.

Long story short, Mr. jittery-black-teeth-money/gas-solicitor was lying. Apparently he's some sort of druggie/dealer. Pretty soon police cruiser number two arrives, then police cruiser number three. It was quite a show. They handcuffed him and hauled him off to jail!

All I could think about today was how these rotten, lying scumbag people ruin things for everyone because they make you harden your heart, they make you suspicious, they make you not want to trust anyone, or do nice things. I was thinking what must go through the mind of someone like that to come onto private property and blatantly lie to scam money to buy drugs. In a million years, I cannot imagine myself in a scenario like that and for that, I am grateful. Still, I feel ridiculous that I chose to believe him, that my kindness is a weakness that other people see as an opportunity to take advantage of.

There is never a dull moment in this neighborhood. I could toss out all the TV's we own and just sit by the windows and be entertained both day and night. I couldn't make up half this stuff even if I tried. I look around me and there's so much dysfunction, so much moral depravity I can hardly stand it. It's hard feeling like you're the only normal person in a world full of whackos.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The earth turns, the sun burns

I decided not to be hateful to the man who walks his dogs and won't say hello to me when I say hi to him. All summer long, I've been ignoring him whenever I see him. It takes a lot of effort to ignore someone who is right across the street hanging onto a dog that is barking wildly and struggling mightily to cross the street and sniff me out. I need to believe that there is goodness in everyone. Whether this is a foolish belief or not remains to be seen. I saw him today and said hello. He said hello back. Progress.

This morning was a gift. The air was just a little bit cool here and that's the first time in forever that I have not been met with a wall of heat the moment I step outdoors. A shadow of the moon was still up in the sky, so was the sun, and so were the clouds. I wished I could be up there, too, floating on a cloud or something, sipping a drink with lots of ice. Sometimes the earth feels too crowded with people and stuff. In my dreams, I can fly. If only.

Everything is going well here. My youngest seems to be adjusting to college life and we are adjusting to life without her here all the time. Every day it's a new drama at the school--tonight it was a fire in her dorm. She proudly stated that she remembered to take her cell phone and her favorite blanket when the alarm went off in the building. No mention of the $2,000 laptop, though. Priorities, I guess.

Anyway, I want to say that I've been busy being happy, because that's what's true.