With respect to Socrates, my unexamined life is not worth living. The front room is the face we show everyone but we hide our true self in the back room.
The best part of my day does not occur until my wife comes home, so I sit enjoying the second best part of my day. I’m thinking about writing my thoughts on paper first because the Internet is so damn distracting.
No no no. I take full responsibility for clicking on articles and even worse, the comments below. Nothing but contempt can be gained by allowing people to comment. Articles have comments moderated but it appears all comments are accepted unless someone curses or makes a direct threat to someone. Conversely, on blogs I follow, the comments are generally supportive. Is moderation the reason? Or is the reading option a factor? The articles often accost us with eye-catching headlines while scrolling news pages. It can’t be that the article takes a stand, or has an opinion, because blogs do that as well.
I believe it once again comes down to what is simplistic yet sadly true. We are not the United States of America. We are a deeply divided country. It goes beyond, well, families fight sometimes too but we stand together as a nation. The nation can’t come together on anything. So many are entrenched in a past United States that no longer exists and others have an unrealistic view as to what it takes to run a country. Many people are stubborn, fixed on long-held beliefs even after they have been proved arcane. Some do not wish to admit what lies in their darkest of hearts about fellow America-residing people. And as for the uniting tragedy of September 11, we came together as a nation for a couple of months, the way separated couples come together after a tragedy only to re-discover after a few months hey we forgot how much we can’t stand one another.
But I digress. The Internet can be so useful but it’s easier to abuse its usefulness.
I intended to write about my “gift”. As you know if you “follow” me, and not in the creepy stalker way I wrote about a while back but in the blog-following way, I wrote a piece about giving yourself a gift every day. It came from David Lynch’s wonderful TV show Twin Peaks. I also enjoy recalling my previous blogs as they are extensions of who I am and hopefully will not be like TV throwaways, you know the episodes where a character’s relative comes to visit and you never hear from the relative again, or when a main character engages in a hobby for one episode and never mentions it again.
I don’t want to give the impression that my “gift” idea is a one-off. I try to find something for myself every day. Today was a little different. I needed gas and having recently moved to the area I have not settled on a go to station yet. I check the prices and then I check the attitude of the attendants. In my state we don’t pump. So I rolled into a new station and asked for $18 worth. Cash. The attendant named Kamal, quizzically repeated my request and then filled me up. It was over quickly. After hearing the tell-tale click click click of my gas cap he re-approached the window. I reached across the passenger side handed a $20 bill to him and told him to keep it. He leaned in and smiled, thanking me profusely. His gloved hand hovered near my window as if waiting to be shaken but I wasn’t completely sure. He tapped the side of my car and I drove away.
I had planned on giving him the $20 when I rolled in but I had not expected his reaction. Often when I do this, the attendant takes the money and grunts or says nothing at all. As long as I’ve been driving I’ve tried to offer attendants something extra. I know some people who only do this in extreme cases, if they clean the windows or if the weather is bad. I don’t think you have to offer something automatically- this is starting to sound like the diner scene from Reservoir Dogs.
Anyway, I enjoy the “gift” when it is a surprise and today’s gift was doubly so since it was a surprising gift for me as well as Kamal. The beauty of the gift is in complexity. It’s never just one thing. It’s something to brighten my day, change my mood, change the way I feel about others, restore my faith in mankind and filling me with so much love I’d think I was in church or in Emily Dickinson’s backyard with the bobolink.
And that lasts until I come across another hate-filled rant in the comments section. So I write about it, reliving the gift and feel good all over again. I hit save, shut off the computer and do something productive. Happily anticipating the best part of my day.