Last week the universe served me a healthy dish of humble pie. I was on the train, hot and with the normal level of annoyance that I generally have on the last leg of my commute. This guy came and sat right in front of me, slamming his knee into mine with barely an apology. He was kind of weird looking and tended to stare at people so I spent some time judging what his upbringing must have been like i.e. lack of home-training, raised in poor taste as evidence by his tacky tattoos that ran down his arm which included hot rod flames, that matched his shoes, as well as the face of an average looking girl that I assumed was his old high school flame - now etched in fading ink and regret on his forearm.
A few stops down a small family got on with two kids. Ugh. Kids are the worst on afternoon trains – I’ve seen them drop suckers and gum on the floor and seats, run amuck and bawl their heads off. I braced for a few more stops of fresh annoyances as they were getting on, the mom first, then the two young kids, and then the dad. The train was pretty packed and there was really no place to sit, especially for a family of four. The mom walked down about four spaces from me, while tacky tattoo guy followed her with his stare. Just as I was about to yell at him in my mind, “Damn! Have some discretion with your gawking.” He jumped up and quickly walked over to her, telling her they could have his bench. She shyly sat down with her quiet and well-behaved children, while her husband came and stood beside her. I scooted closer to the window and invited him to sit down next to me and across from her, which he did thankfully. I was blown away and ashamed of my unfair assumptions. I have RARELY, only once in fact, seen a guy give up his seat on the Trax train. This guy was a kind and thoughtful gentleman and I unfairly made heinous assumptions. I am wretched. And to add insult to injury, as I was getting off at my stop this homeless looking guy, who I see on the train ALL the and who I had decided was either mentally not there or drunk, pushes the door open for me and smiles at me as I am getting off the train. Wow. I needed to sit down. I took a silent vow that I would be more mindful of my mean-girl judgmental thoughts, even if I never did give voice to them and even if they were just a symptom of an hour and a half commute in 95-degree heat. From that day on I have had more understanding and patience with people, giving them the benefit of the doubt and feeling a tiny bit more love for man-kind.
Fast-forward to this morning. I was driving on the freeway through the mind-bloggling construction in Utah County, when I felt my car start to wobble, like I didn’t have a lot of control. I kind of started going all over the road and correcting it was hard. I knew it was a flat and as the grinding noise grew louder I knew I needed to get off the freeway immediately, even though I was only one exit away from work. I pulled off right in front of a Harley store, an automotive shop and a tire shop. Plus it was right in construction zone with construction workers all over, mostly just sitting in their trucks. A stroke of luck indeed. Having only changed a tire once in my life, and under supervision, I decided to solicit help thinking all it would be was a few bucks. And that was only if I couldn’t attain their good will. So I walked over the automotive shop and told them my plight.
He barely batted an eye.
“Well we don’t do much with tires. I could probably help you if you had a spare but…”
“Yes, that’s all I need. I have a spare, I just can’t figure out my jack”
“It’s probably best for you to go talk to them (shop next door). They may not be in yet but you wouldn’t have to wait long.”
No one was at the place next door and fighting tears (I really don’t know why - maybe because I was at the mercy of strangers that refused to help me) I walked through the road construction to the other side of the road and busted out the tools and my owner's manual, while the construction dudes watched me a few yards away from their trucks. I had to stand on the tire iron to loosen the lug nuts and when it would give and fall off the nut I would fall and stumble. This happened with each one I loosened, and I could only imagine the road construction guys having a good laugh. I laid on the ground searching for a place to put the jack and then got up, looked in the manual and back to the ground. I was mad at myself for not knowing how to do this and looking like a dumb girl, or at the very least, not having AAA. But most of all I was incensed my these thoughtless a-holes that couldn’t be bothered to show any sort of concern when I was right under their nose. My dad would have helped, my brothers would have helped, my life-partner would have helped and just about every one of my guy friends would have come over to see what they could do. Who were these godless heathens? A few minutes later after I was covered in grime and dirt, these two old guys from a nearby greenhouse shop stopped by in their floppy hats and took over for me, showing me how to do it and why I was getting stumped. It took all of five minutes and they were on their way like it was nothing. They will be getting a basket of cookies.
I am not sure what the moral of this tale is. But I have kind of been knocked off the humanity high that I got from the train that day. I guess now my mindset is this: “A lot of people suck. But some don’t. Keep the faith”