16 June 2012

Good Neighbors Let You Borrow Sugar, Great Neighbors Give You Toilet Paper

What has happened to etiquette? Let me tell you, living in the bay area is a special challenge after coming from the south. I am for being yourself, speaking loud for your beliefs, questioning what's going on around you, but I am not for the consistent rudeness that people daily put onto those that happen to step into a life even if only a moment: fellow transit passengers, customers, servers, cashiers, drivers, neighbors, etc.

It's also hard to balance. There is always the chance of being too nice. I just had to get up from my seat because I looked over and the guy next to me was leaning over and reading this blurb. "oh, sorry, thought you were playing a game," he said when I caught him creeping. Really now? Either being shoved in the rush getting on Bart, or having to stay home from work when you get a creepy stalker letter. For some reason, I have trouble with this balance.  My husband likes to tell me that I attract the crazies.

However, sometimes  I am presented with a gem. The one kid out of ten that I teach that runs with his/her talent. You can touch the excitement and thrill they receive in the of risk in movement.  Or the lady on the train that just wants to talk about the CDC releasing a statement about zombies not being real. That's entertainment, I tell you. There are people around us that are lonely and in need of encouragement, it's just so hard to not be worn down from those that discourage you from being open to those possibilities.

Loren and I are greatly blessed with friends. It's work to create a space to be with them, but it is absolutely worth it. Learning and knowing our deep need for community maybe has been our greatest lesson here--so far away from family. We can walk across our "yard" right now and have dinner with dear friends. They even give us toilet paper when we run out. Not sugar to make something sweet that's shareable. Toilet paper to clean up shit. Literally.

How can I give toilet paper to those around me? What can I do to pay it forward? Encouragement in the midst of the day to day in order to persevere even though sometimes what is given isn't received? Maybe the first step is putting the iPhones down, ear phones out, smiling, and listening. Then I won't be paying attention to the guy that shoves me out of the way to get a seat on the train.

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