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Laura

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Sunday, May 28th, 2017 10:01 am
Today, I re-shared on Facebook something I also shared three years ago - an image of someone giving a cup of coffee to a homeless person, with the statement, "The world is full of nice people. If you can't find one, be one." I added, as I shared it, "This. And if you can find one, be one anyway. The world is full of nice people, and that's something we want to keep going, please."

Yesterday, I needed to go get potting mix. Which meant I was at Home Depot on Memorial Day weekend, which is really not when I would prefer to go there. The parking lot was a zoo. I saw someone start backing up then look THEN stop...just before he would have collided with the woman who had been walking behind his car before he put it in reverse. He DID stop and wait until she wasn't behind him. She was about to return her cart to the corral; I was returning mine and offered to walk hers over, after that incident. She thanked me...and was partway across the same space when she had to backpedal hastily to avoid being hit by the flaming idiot who came into the aisle (it was about the fourth space in) and headed for the space at a decent clip, slowing only a little when they realized SOMEONE WAS WALKING THERE.

When I left the parking lot, I had trouble getting out because of the lines of cars, and someone cut me off when they could visibly see I'd been waiting longer.

All this is to say that I was grumpy, agitated, and very nervous about people in general as I left. And I made a conscious, deliberate decision to let people in. It's too easy when we're grumpy to just go auto-pilot through our day and not delay it any further. After all, I'd already been delayed and worried and bothered! It felt good to be kind instead.

This is not I'm a saint. I'm pretty cruddy at this, actually. But I still do it. Because that's the kind of world I want to live in. Because it feels good.

I'm not saying that being nice or kind or standing up is always easy. Nor that it's always safe; in some circumstances there may be objective risks that outweigh being nice in your circumstance.

Friday night on a MAX train here, two men died and a third was seriously injured, intervening between a man who was spewing hate and the two young women (police have not released their ages as far as I know, but said 'girls' and 'young women'). (Would the man have injured the two young women, or just yelled at them if left alone? We may never know.)

Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche and Ricky Johnson Best died. Micah David-Cole Fletcher was badly injured. (That he isn't dead is already amazing, given the descriptions of his injuries.)

Am I glad they intervened? In many ways yes. In others no. I'm sure their families would be happier if they weren't injured or dead. Could I do what they'd done? I don't know. (On the other hand, I might have a better chance at de-escalating - if I'm ever in a position to do so, I should remember that as a white female, I have a better chance of being taken as non-threatening than most people, assuming I don't take an aggressive stance.)

...but often it _is_ simpler than that. What if you let someone turn out of a driveway during heavy traffic? Let someone with only a couple items go ahead of you in a grocery store? It's a small thing. Maybe all it does is brighten their day. Maybe it actually makes their life much easier than you realize. But if "all" it does is brighten their day, and _they_ go on to interact with the world more kindly....

Well. Many big things are built of lots and lots of small things. Not all. But many.
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