May 7, 2010

Where everybody (or nobody) knows your name

Sean and I had a busy week last week, working at four different job sites and wrapping up three of them. On Friday we had two jobs to complete, and the first one was taking longer than expected. On the surface, the job looked small, but there were many little details that slowed our progress.

We were taking our lunch break, sitting on the tailgate of his truck chatting and enjoying the sun. A dog came running down the street, followed by a white Cadillac Escalade. The driver hopped out at various points and tried to corral her escaped Corgi, but the dog was not done enjoying his freedom. I wandered her way to try to help out. Sometimes a dog will respond to a stranger when it is defying his owner (it sometimes works with children too). I was able to coax the dog my way, but as I grabbed for his collar he eluded my grasp. 

Soon Sean joined in and we were chasing the dog around a few of the neighborhood lawns. I headed back toward my lunch to grab a treat to see if bribery would work. The dog's owner was getting increasingly agitated, and when the dog ran near her, the lady threw the leash and metal collar at the dog in frustration (fortunately she missed). Sean and I looked at each other with that "whoa!" expression because the reaction seemed so out of line with what was going on. The leash and collar narrowly missed going into the open sewer drain. If that had happened her head might have exploded.

I was able to entice the dog with a corn chip, and when he started munching I grabbed the scruff of his neck and lifted him into my arms. The dog owner's eyes were still seething, so rather than hand off the dog to her, I carried him back to her car. 

My friend Holly has been having a rough time the past week or two. We all have those streaks of days where nothing seems to go right, everything is broken, and we are unbelievably clumsy. I know I have felt like this, and often it is a relatively small frustration that will finally cause me to lose it. The anger is almost always directed at myself or some machine that isn't working, rarely if ever at a person or an animal. But the explosion always seems way out of proportion to the mishap.

I have no idea what the dog owner's day, or days were like leading up to the dog's escape. I know that she was running late for something when she lashed out, but for her dog's sake I hope it was more than that. But of course I will never know. We never know the stories of all those folks that cross our path. Hopefully the encounters are positive, but even when they aren't we need to keep in mind we have no idea what they are bringing to the moment. You can only try to treat them with kindness and help them back away from the edge.

After Sean and I finished up the two jobs on Friday, he treated me to a couple of beers at Oceanside Ale Works. It is a brewery with a bit of a speakeasy feel. The brewery is housed in an industrial park, and you almost have to stumble on it to find it. It is only open for four hours on Friday evenings and four hours on Saturday afternoons. And it was packed, standing room only. Well it is always standing room only since there are no chairs. You are just standing on the concrete floor between the makeshift bar and the mixing kegs for the beers, with the roll up garage door open to the parking lot. We were surrounded by people of varying ages, likely coming down off a busy week and looking forward to the weekend. It was great.

Be it a bar, running along a path, a coffee house, a park, or simply sitting on the deck at your house - we all need a safe place to unwind. Someplace to shed the daily frustrations and unwind our spring so we don't take it out on others, or even ourselves. Sometimes we just want to be left alone, but hopefully we find a kind ear when we need to talk our way back from the edge. Sometimes it is a random act of kindness that restores our faith that not everything is going wrong. And sometimes all it takes is a smile.

Or the promise of the weekend. Have a great one.

1 comment:

Holly Linden said...

To a new week!! Thanks for all your help in regrouping from calamity... be it your Mr. fix it, or just that look you have. The " I get it" one. Thanks Buddy.