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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Thanksgiving: A Perspective*

Well, it happened. I have landed on my butt on the snow. It was my own damn fault. I was not wearing particularly aggressively soled boots and I was pissed, so I was striding along as if I wasn't on icy, snowy slickery-ness.

Now, let me give you a little background information. Lithus and I live right on the edge of "the good part of downtown" and "the bad part of downtown." What this means is, if you look out the east windows of our building, you see modern, sparkly buildings. Downtown shopping. Businesses. Parks. Starbucks. If you look out the west buildings, you see older, lower buildings. The soup kitchen. The halfway house. The drag clubs. The by-the-week flophouse "hotel." You're never quite sure who you're going to meet. It's part of what we love about the area.

Which brings us back to our story... First, I slipped and the man coming down the parking lot behind me called out for me to be careful. Being pissed already, I managed a grimace and a wave. But I didn't slow down. Another fifty steps and down I went. By that time, the man had closed the distance. Not in a scary way, or anything. Just in a he was walking faster than I was, even with my angry stride, way.

He bent down and offered me a hand. I, not being the least bit angry at him, accepted it with a grateful if ego-bruised smile. He held onto my arm long enough for me to get good and stable and before we started to move again. We were right at a place where our paths diverged so I said another quick thank you and started toward my apartment building. He stopped and said "Thank you for letting me help you."

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Did I notice he wasn't very clean? Or that he didn't have all his teeth? That he was probably a resident of one of the establishments around me, if he was a resident anywhere? Of course I did. I am a city girl and I am a people watcher. Either of those things means you always know who is around you, behind you, approaching you. Put them together and trust me, I see everything. But I'm also good at threat assessement. This guy just wanted to help me get back up on my feet and stable. And trying to get my feet back under me, his cleanliness and oral hygeine were the least of my concerns.

I want to be surprised at the thought that perhaps someone ~ okay, a woman alone ~ wouldn't have accepted his help. I'm not. It makes me sad to not be surprised. And it makes me sad that he had to thank me for letting him help me. Not sad for him, though. He's not the one who's lost his humanity, after all.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

* with thanks to Lori for the title