Putting Down Roots

got your back
January 11, 2012, 6:21 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I don’t know if it was the thunder that woke me up before six this morning, or the torrential rain, but I do knot that I only had one sleepy minute of enjoying the storm before I remembered that my main form of transportation is bicycle. I had gotten off easy last night when a friend came by to hang out and drive me home from work, but it didn’t look like I would be so lucky this morning. Eyes closed, I considered how much more time I should give myself for the commute, rolled over, and allowed myself a few more minutes of sleep. I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth, foam spilling from my lips, when my housemate knocked on the door. “Can I give you a ride this morning?” Bedheaded, nightgown-clad, foamy mouth and all, I opened the door and gave her a big sleepy look of relief and gratitude. (She told me later, on the ride, that she had been worried that I, in my committment to biking in all situations, would turn her down, and she was just as relieved when I said yes.)

When I got back to my room, I had a text from my boss, who had seen the weather and was worried about me and asked me to call her back. She was ready to strap the babies into the car and head out into the storm for me.

Recently, I have been struck over and over again by how much people have my back.

Yesterday at the library I was caught with two dirty-diapered babies and no baby wipes; another mom gave me the end of her packet with a look of true understanding and none of the nanny-scolding judgment I could have gotten. When I thanked her, she said, “really, it’s nothing–this happens to all of us, doesn’t it?”

When I had to leave on a 6 AM bus for Atlanta at Christmas, a new friend offered to pick me up at 5:15; when I was returning at 10:30 PM a week later, a woman from my church cheerfully came for me.

A few weeks back, my friend Beazley and I drove our bikes in his truck to a nature preserve snuggled up against the Gulf of Mexico. We parked on the side of a trail and explored mudflats, which mostly meant that I was terrified of alligators while he tried to convince me that they were harmless. We also had fun feeling mud between our toes. When we got back to the truck after an hour or so, we saw that he’d left the lights on. We weren’t exactly in the middle of nowhere, but we were close; finding someone to give us a jump would take a while. The truck, mercifully, started, and we were sitting in the bed of it eating donuts when another truck slowed down in the road. A woman leaned out the window, asking, “did you get it started? We drove past a while ago and wanted to make sure y’all didn’t need help with your battery.”

I’ve been chased down by strangers returning lost shoes and pacifiers, been given my boss’s car for the weekend when I needed to drive a ways to visit friends who were passing through Florida, and when I lost my favorite bracelet (one Libby sent from Niger three years ago; it’s almost the only earthly possession that I don’t consider expendable) in the kitchen at the Episcopal University Center, the cook found it three days later and a friend kept it on his wrist until he could return it.

All those people who say they world is getting meaner just haven’ t been paying cose enough attention.


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