Hello my loves!
Yesterday was kind of meh in our house. Three of the four of us have an upper-respiratory ick, and when I was out running errands, it managed to snow, sleet, rain, and freakishly hail all while I was out in it. We still have a layer of hail on the ground because Indiana.
While I was out, I had to stop and get gas, which by now I should know is a risky task in itself, but I had the genuine misfortune of running into a prick dude-bro who seemed to take glee in ruining other peoples’ days.
The woman in front of me in line paying for her gas was having to spread her payment over three different credit cards. She was embarrassed and kept turning around to apologize to all of us waiting on her transaction. At least six times that woman turned around to say she was sorry.
Hey man, I’ve been there. I’ve been the person asking if I can pay ten bucks in cash, and could I put the rest on this card because it’s all I have. I’ve been the gal trying to buy groceries only to have my card not go through and have to stand there asking the cashier to take items off until we get to an amount where the card works.
It’s not a fun game. Once someone called me a bitch who was wasting everyone’s time because I couldn’t get it through my brain I was broke.
Some people are super considerate like that.
So, anyway. This woman was apologizing like crazy, when the dude-bro behind me said, “I’mma tell you what. No one gives a fuck about your sorrys.” And he said it loudly. He wasn’t just talking to this woman, he wanted to make sure everyone in line heard him humiliate her.
I didn’t turn around, but I looked at the woman and said, “Well, I do. I think it’s considerate.”
Dude-bro then replied to me, saying, “Shut the fuck up.” And it wasn’t a derisive snort, it was an aggressive direct order.
My thoughts on this interaction bring me to think this man saw another human being in a vulnerable position, sensed the weakness in the herd, and took the moment to kick her when she was down. It was a cheap, easy shot for him. He was the prick hyena to her wobbly antelope.
As much as I’d love to analyze and rant on Douchey McDude-Bro and think about how this has to mean humanity is on a crash course for dickery, I thought I would counteract his bad behavior with a spot of good.
When I was sixteen, I left on a foreign exchange trip to France for the summer. The story of that trip is a twisted little tale that I’ll save for another time.
But on my way home, I was a wreck. It was the first time I’d flown alone without one of the chaperons from the exchange place, and I had to catch at least six flights to get from the edge of France back to Indiana.
I’m not particularly street-wise, which if you’ve read this blog at all, I’m sure that’s translated.
Let me set the scene: I’d been up for 36 hours straight. In that 36 hours, I’d traveled from the edge of Switzerland to Paris, to Germany, to London, to Chicago. I was out of money. I hadn’t eaten in a day. I was supposed to fly from Chicago to Indiana where my parents were to pick me up, but my flight had been massively delayed due to the tornado that came past the airport. (And, incidentally, sucked my luggage off the trolley to the plane and deposited it half a mile away.)
Also, after the storm hit, we were notified that they were preparing to board us again when part of the plane LITERALLY CAUGHT ON FIRE.
I’m sixteen. I’m exhausted. I’m starving. My plane is on fire. I wanted my damn mommy, guys.
I called her collect from a payphone, and stood there in a weirdly dark corridor of the the O’Hare and begged her to come get me. Chicago was only about a four hour drive, and I was assuming in that time my plane would blow up or be swarmed by bees, so she’d have enough time to get there.
And I cried. Man, did I blubber. I’d had enough. The summer had been horrible and it seemed like the universe was determined to keep me from my home.
As my mom tried her best to assure me I would get safely home, and it would be wisest to just wait for a non-flaming plane to arrive, the man who was on the phone next to me turned to me and handed me something.
This is how the conversation with my mom went as this happened:
Mom: “You’ll be home soon, and we will be at the airport to get you.”
Me: “Erm. Mom. Some man just handed me twenty bucks and his address.”
Mom: “OH MY GOD RUN AWAY PUNCH HIM SCREAM FOR THE POLICE BABY RUUUUUUUUN!”
Me: “Uh, he handed me the stuff and then ran away…”
It took us a few minutes, but it came together.
The man had been on the phone and heard me ugly sobbing to my mom that I’d run out of money, hadn’t eaten, and wanted to come home.
And he gave me twenty bucks and his address so that I could have something to eat, and should I find myself a good person, I could mail him that money back one day.
This guy saw the wobbly antelope and decided to help. Just because he saw I needed it.
I used that twenty dollars to buy a sandwich, a Cinnabon as big as my head, some water, and a Seventeen magazine. To this day, it was the best damn food I’d ever eaten. And I will always have a warm, fuzzy feel for Cinnabons.
Even though it took another eight hours for a new plane that, you know, wasn’t on fire, to arrive, I sat there happy and full and feeling like everything was going to be okay.
And it was. I made it home, safe and sound.
We did send that money back to that man. In fact, I think my mom actually sent him extra. They chatted a few times through letters or email, and she learned he was a military man from somewhere down south and he’d just wanted to help out. He’d not expected to get the money back, but he was very pleased that we did.
We are always going to come across people who are in a wobbly antelope place. Not a single person is going to have their shit together all day, every day.
And it’s a choice. When you stumble upon an antelope, you can be the hyena, sniffing out the weakened prey for your own cackling amusement.
Or maybe you could be like Airport Sir and step up to help. Not because it gives you a damn thing, but because it’s the right thing to do. And because someday you might find yourself in an antelope-y position, and I bet dollars to Cinnabons you’d want to run into that guy.
That’s what I took from yesterday. The world is a kooky place and there are a lot of shitty people meandering around spreading their venom for whatever reasons. But there are a lot of amazing people out there and I’m going to focus on those folks.
And I’m sure as hell going to try my best to be one of them.
I hope you all are well!
Until next time,
Peace, Love, and Antelopes