Topsy-turvy world. I wake up and my computer — the one that never holds a charge for more than 30 minutes — is running, almost fully charged, and unplugged. That is big news. And very strange. I expect a wife I don’t know to tell me breakfast is almost ready and see a bunch of cute, well-behaved kids quietly waiting for waffles in the dining room.
Alas, life is different, much less complicated, and feeling very much like it usually does this morning. Certainly the computer working is strange, but I don’t ask metaphysical questions when things work in my favor. Maybe the universe is paying me back for yesterday. I was a good guy yesterday.
If generosity gives good karma, I have a little karma in the bank. I am not sure what happened, but I felt giving yesterday. I held open doors, gave up a cab, bought drinks, and handed out cash on whim. I even thought about giving an old girlfriend or two a call. I gave a pair of swindlers five bucks instead.
Later last night, I got one of my cab drivers to open up and start talking. His wife is a nursing student at the University of Minnesota. He and she work two jobs each. (If you don’t live in a four-income family, that should make you think.) He talked about was how exciting it is seeing her get a degree. He said his wife feels so fortunate she cries and they laugh and they close their eyes and hope it will all really work out. I felt alive simply listening to his happiness. I gave him a tip on my fare plus $20. It was worth many times that, but I am not a rich man.
When he thanked me he said most people are not friendly to him. He said being an immigrant to the United States is very hard. People are not nice. He said it reassured him when he met a nice man. Like me. That made me feel really good. Thank you. Little gestures matter. Remember that.
We’re all foreigners here, by the way. Maybe being “a foreigner” is a hazing ritual. Perhaps that’s it. But bigotry and paranoia drive me nuts.
So then I ran into a couple ladies on the corner of Lake and Hennepin. Somalis. I gave them each five dollars. And guess what. They were offended!
Of course timing is everything. I guess I understand why they were offended. They probably thought I was a patronizing white guy shivering in the cold and had lost my mind, which is all true. My gesture was out of context and probably inappropriate. But I didn’t care then and just let it be. I suppose I was set on making friends even if it meant offending people. They bitterly took the gift and turned their backs to me. It is part of the hazing ritual. I’ll learn.
My twenty minutes is almost up. Time to get on to other things.
I’m still waiting for the doting wife to tell me she and the kids are ready for breakfast. If karma exists she’s wearing tight leopard-print capris and the kids are eager to go play in the yard.
- William Gibson Talks Sci-Fi and His Next Novel at New York Public Library (tested.com)
- Madmen and monster makers – scientists in literature (scienceobserved.wordpress.com)