Monday, October 30, 2006

My Babble on Being Caring

Every night I get into bed and babble on for 15 or 20 minutes about whatever crap is in my head... kind of an end of day release before I fall asleep. (Plot exposition... it has to go somewhere.) John patiently listens to me, and more often then not I suspect, lets the noise of my babble float in one ear and out the other until he drifts off.

But last night my babble was more structured than usual. I'd had a difficult start to my day - emotional, disappointing and trying - but had faced it and worked through it, rather than letting it eat me alive all day.

My problem is that I care. I care about everything -- too much even. I want everyone in my life to be happy, healthy, successful, treated well and loved. I don't think that is too much to ask in life... but life is unfair and doesn't work that way. I see these injustices and they frustrate, stress and anger me.

Worse, I see people who deserve these things in life stand there and let themselves get run over by people who simply don't care. PWDC... People Who Don't Care.

I met one yesterday during my afternoon journeys. A young woman working at a craft store wearing a badge that indicated she was the Head of Customer Service. She was cashing out my purchase. A man had come into the store looking for a replacement blade for a rotary cutter. He was obviously new to the store, overwhelmed, lost and really just looking for a direct answer. The replacement blade is a common and simple item, that honestly was also available at the office supply store next door. He'd already gone to one associate, who then had come to the "Head of Customer Service" to try and direct this customer to the product. I watched this woman not only make vague hand gestures and statements, but basically waive the man away. She wasn't familiar with the item but announced that it might be found in one of two departments. Head of Customer Service. This man stood there and had no choice but to let this PWDC run him over and discard him.

I care too much. I intervened and told the man exactly what the item was and where it was located in the store. My reward was the look of relief on his face and his thanks as he strode off to get what he needed.

Outside the store I vented to John about how ridiculous that scene was and how frustrated I was by the "Head of Customer Service", and how this behavior seemed to be a growing trend. I'm simply disgusted by the way people treat each other, and frustrated with mankind in general. I actively try to be a good person and to help others, and with the exception of a rare few around me... well, I'm alone. It seems all too easy for the general population to not care, to absentmindedly say mean and hurtful things or to be dismissive.

Part of me would like to gain a little of that in my life... to reduce my sensitivity, if you will.

Then I'm reminded that caring isn't a bad thing.

So last night, my babble became more a counting of blessings. Not the tangible things like the roof over my head, my dogs snoring happily, or the fuzzy socks protecting John from my frozen feet... but the real blessings - my friends. I'm blessed with many people who actually care about the same things I do - maybe not to the same stressful end that I do - but who genuinely care and are supportive.

I told John I was going to knit a scarf for one of my friends, Janet. I'm awful at staying in touch, and reminding people how much I appreciate them. I found myself missing her and kicking myself for not being better at staying in touch. I guess that's the lesson. It's not enough to behave like you care... you have to communicate it too.

So, I'm knitting that scarf. Janet, thank you for working so hard everyday on your two businesses, your two children, and for being a wonderful, caring and supportive friend to both me and the strangers around you. You are a blessing in my life, and I'm making you a wonderful bright fuzzy scarf to keep you warm in the Maine winters, while reminding you of the bright spring flowers I know you love so much.

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