Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Good Deeds Gone Wrong

I'm a big fan of old ladies.

They've got experience. They've lived. They're comfortable in their own skin.

Maybe I'm too much of a fan.

Last night I was driving home from a late meeting and I saw an older woman that lives one block down from us lying near the sidewalk in front of her home.

Any time I see an older woman on the ground, I think about my granny, and how she had osteoporosis and broke her hip, then got a blood infection, and then was wheelchair-bound, and then died from complications due to lung cancer.

So, I stopped. Well, technically, I backed up after I stopped, and I asked her if she was OK.


This would be clue No. 1 for most people. For me? Not so much.

So, she walks over to my car, and says all sorts of "Bless you, Jesus, thank you." And then she starts asking for my information.

All I wanted was to make sure she didn't break a hip, and now she's acting like I'm captive in one of those secret prisons.

So, then she asks if I have a husband.


"Can he push a lawnmower?"

"Uh... he has back problems."

"Oh, well, can I have your phone number?"

"Uhhhh... here's my card. You can call me if there's an emergency."

"What house do you live in?"

"Well, I need to get to dinner."

And I drove off. I immediately began to regret giving her my card. Dave said it was a stupid idea, regardless of whether she was the grandmotherly, lonely, break-her-hip, I've-fallen-and-I-can't-get-up type. He said I should be more discreet.

And folks, he's right.

She called me while I was at work today. I was on deadline with a million things up in the air. I told her I didn't have time.


"Uh, yes, and I'm sorry, but I do have to go."

And I hung up.

And so, my good karma streak ends.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

One more good deed

Last Friday, after I had parked in one of the lots downtown, I pulled down the driver-side vanity mirror to put on my mascara and noticed that a grey Mustang still had its lights on.

I craned my neck to see if anyone was still in the car, but I couldn't tell. I finished putting on my face and went to check on the car.

Luck would have it that the car still had dealer temporary plates. I called the dealership, described the car and left the VIN number with them. I asked them to call the car's owner and tell them that they left their lights on.

I know what it's like to leave your lights on and end up heading to a dead car at the end of the day. It sucks. It's like the universe took away the one thing you wanted at the end of the day: To blast away all the shit with some Garbage/Avett Brothers/Lenny Kravitz or whatever your tastes are that day. And then there's the tow truck or the wait for a friend to come by and give you a jump.

When I left the office, the grey mustang was already gone. Good for them.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Good Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

It's a chilly and wet morning here in Dallas, a true sign of spring. The birds are chirping and puddles are everywhere, and the thought of gardens and late sunsets is stuck in my craw.

With spring comes renewal. I am much more in tune with the idea of turning over new leaves in spring rather than on Jan. 1. There just seems to be more energy and motivation to do what you want to do, to capitalize on intentions.

So, I'm striving to be a better person in a more general sense. To pay it forward. It seems like, every day presents an opportunity to give, to be a little less selfish, to attend to more spiritual needs. Sometimes that opportunity falls from a car right in front of you.

Like on Tuesday.

I was leaving a work meeting at around 7 p.m., and I was in the Park Cities. If you know anything about this very posh area surrounded by Dallas, and yet unincorporated, it is that there are many people who are image-conscious and perhaps more than a little self-absorbed. Money is rarely an object in those parts.

I was walking to my car and saw an older man and a women getting into theirs. The man had set his jacket on top of the car while he was stowing other things. They were dressed as if they might have attended a funeral that had just concluded a few blocks down.

They took off a bit before me, and just after they turned to head down a busy street, I noticed that the man didn't retrieve his jacket from the top of his car. as they went farther down the street, the jacket slowly slipped from the top of the sedan to the trunk, and then floated off.

I immediately drove toward the jacket, hoping I could get to it before the fast-moving tires of any one of the myriad Mercedes and Lexus SUVs on that street could. A woman in a Land Rover got to it before I could, but when I drove up to it, it didn't appear to be any worse off. So I plucked it from the roadway and hoped that the couple hadn't gotten too far out in front of me.

I spotted them at the intersection of McFarlin Boulevard and Preston Road. Preston is a pretty significant thoroughfare in the Park Cities. Other cars were whizzing by, but by the luck of a protected left turn, I kept them in view.

I must've seemed like a crazy person, honking my horn, windows rolled down and bright headlights flashing. None of this, though, got the attention of the older couple in the car in front of me. And my heart nearly broke as they accelerated through a yellow light at Preston and Mockingbird Lane, turning right into Highland Park Village, almost assuredly lost.

I had come this far, though, and I wasn't giving up.

So when the light finally turned green, I followed suit.

I drove up and down the crowded lots of Highland Park Village, unable to find their car so that I could return the lost jacket. No luck.

Frustrated, I was just about to leave when I saw the pair, walking toward a restaurant.

I pulled up quickly, cutting off a Maserati driven by an expertly coiffed woman in enormous sunglasses. I shouted, "Sir! Ma'am! Excuse me! Excuse me please!"

They turned their heads in every direction, wondering if it was them someone was shouting at. Finally they spotted me.

"Sir! You dropped this back on McFarlin. I wanted to make sure it got back to you."

The wife, who appeared to be Korean and in her late 50s, fired off a quick smack to her hulking husband's arm.

"He left it on top of car, didn't he?"

"Yes, he did. I was able to get it though. I tried to signal to you both back on Preston, but I don't think you saw me."

They both thanked me profusely, shaking my hand and saying "Bless you! You're so kind!"

It was a small gesture to chase them down, but in all, I felt so much better for doing that. I was happy that the man got his jacket back, and that he wouldn't spend hours later that day retracing his steps and wondering where he dropped it. His wife wouldn't lay into him with anything more painful than the playful prod she gave him earlier.

And now I wait for the next opportunity to make someone's day a little better.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

If you give a homeless man a banana...

Do you remember reading that children's book, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie..."?

Well, what happens when you give a homeless man a banana?

I had to go home for lunch today, and Dave decided to meet me there. I was a little late, so dave already had veggie burgers fixed up. All I had to tell him was whether today was a mayo day or a mustard day.

So, we finish lunch, we let the dogs out (every time one of us says this, out comes that stupid song "WHO LET THE DOGS OUT? WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!"), and Dave hands me a banana for an afternoon snack. I take it and I head out the door.

I'm walking the three blocks from my parking lot to the office and I see a homeless man sitting on a bus stop bench. He's hastily eating what looks like dried cornbread stuffing right out of the box.

This, of course, kills me.

I know I have plenty of food (maybe too much, if you were to look at the size of my hips) and I know that there are lots of people out there who don't have enough. I've felt lately that I'm not doing my part in being charitable, in giving back.

So, as I'm walking by the obviously hungry man, I smile. He smiles back, which to me is so graceful considering that his life is obviously rough right now. He hasn't had a good meal or a bath in a while.

I reach into my bag and I pull out the banana.

"Would you like this?" I ask.

He takes the banana. "Thanks. I haven't had anything to eat all week. Bless you."

I smiled again, but I walked away, wishing I could do more.

So, if you give a homeless man a banana, he'll thank you. And perhaps you'll thank him, too.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Bad Dreams

I used to have pretty scary dreams when I was a kid. You know the ones, of the vampires (not the sexy kind) chasing you through the woods, and you wake up just as they catch up to you and not a moment too soon. When you're 10, it's absolutely terrifying.

I'm older now, and I'm not scared of much. What's extraordinary to me is that my nightmares are often of the most banal stuff. Like running out of toilet paper.

I had a dream the other night that I was doing my Clinique three-step (with 7-day scrub, thankyouverymuch) and I was reaching for a cotton ball for my toner. No cotton balls.

So I looked for a couple of squares of TP. The roll was bare.

Initially, I'll admit, I swore at my husband.

And then I looked under the sink for more TP, and the cabinet was completely empty. No TP, no toilet bowl cleaner, no Windex -- nothing.

And then I sprinted to the mudroom. "There has to be some toilet paper in this house!"

The mudroom was completely empty. No washing machine, no shelves, no folding table, no cubbies, and no coat rack.

Even the cat box was gone.

And then I woke up.

This morning I realized we were out of cotton balls. Coincidence?

Well, that's up to you to decide.

A Good Teeth Cleaning

I go to the dentist about once every six months for a cleaning and a check-up. It feels like I havent blogged since my last dentist visit, although I know that's not true.

Shitloads have happened since the last post on Dallas' epic snowstorm (I almost typed "snotstorm" which is what's happening right now in Dallas, considering how many people in my office are sick).

But I did go to my dentist today, and they did this crazy-ass x-ray where you stand up and there's this thing that rotates around your head to get a 360-degree picture of your teeth. It was straight out of 2001: A Space Odyssey. I almost expected to hear Hal's voice telling me about the status of the image capture.

Turns out, it's one of those crazy digital x-rays. And, they let me see what my mouf looks like from all directions:

Now that, my friends, is fucking boss. You can see my two crowns and ump-teen fillings. And, I found out today that my teeth are more cavity prone than other because of whitening toothpastes. I had no idea. The hygenist said that using the little strips on a regular basis is better for your enamel than using a toothpaste twice a day. Crazy.

The best news so far today: NO MO' CAVITIES!!!

Also, our fridge is on the fritz. We're having it fixed this weekend, which is a tremendous relief!