Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
Ettiene De Grellet
I often try to remember that the world is not just about me. I try to remember that many small attempts on my part to be aware of the impact my behaviors have on others is never in vain. I try to remember that I am just a small speck on this planet and that it is my duty to be aware and conscious of how my actions or lack of affect those around me even if they are strangers. As a result, I am often saddened by the fact that many people don't behave this way and that these thoughts never even cross their minds.

After work today I go to Trader Joe's (in an upscale neighborhood) and as I am sitting in my car trying to gather my keys and my reusable shopping bags, I notice a woman leaving her shopping cart in a slightly slanted walk just a few feet from the cart dispenser area as she walks away. I note that the cart does a swirl of a dance because it is slightly breezy and does not have solid ground to stand on, before it aims straight for my car. I hold my breath and close my eyes for I know that I cannot stop it in time. As it crashes upside down onto my drivers side door, the woman turns around and comes to retrieve it. She picks it up and looks at me. I get out and look at the damage. It is dented in not just one but two places. She looks at me and says "That was not the cart I had". In amazement I just stare at her. I tell her that this is why it is necessary for people to care enough to just put the cart back in its spot. She again states "my cart was the one next to that one" - I am just fuming. Its not about my car, its just a car. Its about the complete disregard and lack of responsibility. She turns and walks to her car, a shiny new Audi convertible. She looks back at me, like I am some pathetic creature as she drives away.

My car is a 2002 Honda Civic with 135,000 miles on it and I try hard to keep it in good shape because I cannot afford to purchase a new car. My car looked really good and does not reflect its age. As she drove away, I felt sad. I felt sad that some could be so thoughtless. I always walk my shopping cart back to its place, even when the weather is less than desirable because I feel that it is my responsibility. It is a small way to show my community that I care, that I value others time and property, that I am not so full of myself that I forget to take care of the details that make us a human being. I don't believe this in it entirety, but it does seem that people who have more wealth can at times be unconscious about doing the right thing. That there are some rules that just don't apply to them, making them seem selfish and indignant.


Betty said...

You know, I think Trader Joe's are always in upscale neighborhoods. In this city, all of the healthier grocery stores are, as if only the wealthy deserve high quality groceries!

As a fellow owner of an old Honda Civic (mine's 1991) I feel sad too about this experience. Mine is dented all over from a hailstorm from a couple years ago. What a shame when you try so hard to take good care of an older car, and something like this happens....


simply me said...

Hi Betty - thank you. I remembered that you had an older Honda and I knew that you'd feel for me.
Hope all is well with you.

Big Dave T said...

I echo Betty's sentiments in that it seems like the harder you try to protect a vehicle from dings and scratches, the more vulnerable it seems to become to incidents like the one you've described. Kinduva Murphy's law effect.

It's true too that both common courtesy and personal responsibility are on the wane these days.

Guilty Secret said...

Ouch... that would have made me angry too.

Dust-bunny said...

That town has really bred a lot of self-centered, narcissistic nincompoops, hasn't it? ;-)

I think I'll forward this along to my daughter. I want my kids to be conscious of other people's property...as conscious as they can be on this island.

Anonymous said...

cry me a river. Big deal.