Thursday, July 12, 2012

An exercise in kindness.

When I go out walking/wogging/jalking (a new term I am swiping from somebody else) in the mornings I have a couple things I am sort of obsessive about having with me: my phone and a big handkerchief or bandana.  I have a neat belt into which my phone slides and stays put, and I slip the handkerchief/bandana through it, at my right hip.

I started doing this some time ago when allergies were plaguing me. While that's not a problem right now, I continue to do so because I think it makes me a little more visible to passing motorists. More than once I've yanked it out and waved it when it was obvious a driver was distracted, just as a way to catch their eye.

I have an assortment from which to choose each morning:  blue, pink, or red bandanas, and a large white linen handkerchief that is reserved for special occasions.  (I carried it with me when I participated in the 2011 half-marathon, in honor of my mother who had been diagnosed two days earlier with late stage small cell lung cancer. White is the "color" for lung diseases.)

But, in regular fashion, I digress.

This morning I took a longer jalk than I often do on weekday mornings. It was horribly humid during the last mile when I turned onto Fernway from Greenpark. There's a really nice shady span there and I needed it. I pulled my bandana from my belt, wiped my face -- sweat was getting in my eyes! -- and stuck it back in the belt, then proceeded to jog past a couple houses. (I noticed a couple people were fixing to pull out of their driveways, and I'd rather get out of their way so they don't have to wait for me.)

As I jogged past the second house, I realized my handkerchief had slipped off my belt. Had it been earlier in the walk I might have circled back, but I've had some issues with dizziness lately, and bending over sometimes brings on bouts of it that I'd rather avoid, particularly in public. Mostly, it's like having my own private roller coaster in my head. Free thrills!

Anyway, almost a block down the road from where I had lost my companion I noticed an SUV coming up on me, and slowing, and when I turned my head to figure out what the deal was, the woman in it waved my red bandana at me, and said, "You dropped this!"

I do not know this woman. I have no reason to suspect she knows me. She had to have pulled over, gotten out of her SUV, picked up a sweat-drenched bandana, gotten back in her SUV, and then bothered to return it to me.

I'm part of an online community of women who have gathered together daily for almost 8 years now, in a virtual neighborhood, and one of our rituals for the past few years has been setting Thursdays apart to highlight Three Beautiful Things we each have witnessed or experienced in the past week. Some days the lists folks come up with are trivial (which does not make them less important) and sometimes not.  I had listed my own before I headed out the door for my exercise this morning, in fact.

So to those, I add one more beautiful thing:  the kindness of people, particularly when there is nothing to be gained by their having exercised the art of it.

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