Friday, January 28, 2011
It is easy to take others' hard work for granted.
As we walked easily yesterday down our sidewalk with sleds, snow piled high on top of parked cars, I said out loud, "Wow, aren't we fancy?" Here we hadn't lifted a finger and, yet, voila! Despite a foot or so of snow, there was a clear clean path out our door and leading, it seemed, straight to our destination.
It then occurred to me: our being "fancy" was someone else's really fucking hard work!
As we came around the corner, the dry cleaner was there with his shovel, the sweet man who knows us by name (not that I know his, I'm terrible.)
"Great job, thank you very much for shoveling on our behalf!" I said, handing him a gold star. I wanted to take his picture but he waved me off.
"Very shy..." he said.
I understood and didn't pull a paparazzi move. I gave him his space. I think that's why I never ask him his name. Strangely, I get shy around shy people. I feel guilty being my very verbose self around them. It feels like I am actually inflicting torture.
We had a great time sledding. I say we, but it was mostly the kids, with mommy chatting up all and sundry (even the shy ones.)
Snow days in Park Slope, if the sledding is good, offer a rare opportunity for an outdoor party on the high hill behind the Picnic House in Prospect Park. All the fun parents are there, the more fearless, the ones who can stomach watching their progeny fly fast over the ridges created by many sledders, often straight into other sledders. Collective groans could be heard all around at the amazing headlong crashes.
Picking up provisions for lunch afterward, just some quick fixins at the deli, an older woman I've seen around, always looking to chat, came in to ask the Yemeni deli guy if he wanted anything for lunch.
"I'm goin' to Smiley's," she said, invoking the name of the local pizza parlor, "ya want anythin'?"
She looked at me then. "I do everything for everyone around here," she said, adding, only slightly in jest, "No one does anythin' for me."
I love these moments, when I can reach into my bag and do something for someone who feels needy, quickly and easily.
"Here," I said, handing her a star, "now you've been recognized for your good deeds..."
Tears came to her eyes. "Really," she said, "I have a heart too..."
Taking people for granted is so easy, especially those who like doing for others, who do it with relish, like this nice lady. My gold stars help remind me to reach out to these people, that they need it even if they're too shy to ask. What reminds you?