Yanking. My. Chain.

(Written last night, posted today)

The universe is yanking my chain. Messing with my head. Freaking me out, man.

Because tonight, I might actually kinda sorta believe in the goodness of humanity.

That’s so not me. No, I think people are mean, and mean people suck. But tonight…I have a softer spot in my heart for the world.

I was on my way to the grocery store to pick up something for dinner. I waited in a left turn bay for the light to go my way. Out of the corner of my eye in the rearview mirror, I saw a small white pickup stomp to a halt at an odd diagonal to the left turn bay. Then the driver was out of the car and weaving around on foot in the opposite-side lane.

“Oh crap,” I thought, eyeing him in my rearview, “this guy’s messed up.” I immediately reached for my phone to call the police, and as I did I turned to look out my window to see what the guy was doing. Was he going to hurt himself?

Then I realized why he was making a weaving wavy line in the oncoming lane. Leading the parade was a Mama Duck and three little chicks tailing her every move, the guy madly following behind, making classic herding motions with his hands.

Obviously, the duck and young ‘uns had wandered into traffic and this guy was chasing them, trying to get them to safety, and waving off oncoming traffic at the same time.

Finally, Mama D got over to the curb and she hopped up. Three babies hopped and jumped in vain, unable to make the distance. The guy reached down, cupped his hands, and gently scooped up each baby and placed them on the sidewalk. When all were safe, he trotted to his truck and jumped back in.

This wasn’t a Teva wearing, hola granola, tree hugging guy, either. He was a tradesman, driving a worktruck and clearly had put in a hard day’s work on a freaking hot day.

And at the end of that day, he saved four lives.

I was stunned, and my heart felt warmth.

Then, while in the grocery, I went over to the bakery to pick up a few of my favorite cookies. They are baked on site and tantalize behind a glass case. A bakery employee has to help you get to the good stuff.

I stood by the glass and waited. The bakery employee was alone back there, on the phone, taking an intricate cake order. No worry, I got time. I can wait for delicious almond horns.

So I waited. I didn’t even feel impatient. It allowed me the chance to oogle all the other tasty cookies on display.

Finally, she hung up the phone and turned to me. She said, “Thank you so much for waiting, I’m so sorry!”

“No problem,” I said and ordered the horns.

She put a couple in a box then added one more. “One extra for having to wait,” she said, smiled, and sealed up the box.

I was stunned. I got rewarded for patience? Me, the least patient person I know?

Then on the way home, I arrived at a four way stop at the same time as another car. I was the car on the right, and thus supposed to be the first to go. That never happens according to the law in California, so as usual, I paused. The other driver, a teenage girl, gave me the wave. I smiled and waved back and turned left through the intersection.

At the next intersection, I arrived the same time as a huge SUV. I was on the left this time. I paid it forward, gave him the wave, got a smile and wave in return.

With a goofy grin on my face, I then made my way the final few blocks to home.

Sure, it’s a Monday, hotter than the hinges of hell, The Good Man is violently sick (Norovirus is the main suspect), Mom-in-Law got roughed up at her doctor, and the cat is hot and lethargic. By all accounts, it’s a sad day where I live.

But right now I feel…dare I say…optimistic about my fellow man.

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  • Anonymous

    Yeah, don’t take much does it?

    Here in the frozen north where endless gales of snow have given way to – equally endless gales of rain, sigh.

    I am running down the little backroad to the hovel when the car in front of me locks ’em up and STOPS.

    We are sitting on a two lane blacktop that divides a marsh. I know not what the problem is, and then slowly from in front of the preceding vehicle, a fur coat waddles out.

    A baby beaver has decided he’d rather use the road than the drain under it to cross, ever so slowly and looking a lot like Mr. Magoo, looking this way and that and yet seeing nothing, finds his way to the marsh opposite.


  • Natalie

    The duckie story made a tear come to my cynical eyes. I felt all warm and downy.

    Emmett’s story is pretty good, too.

    Ah… Spring…

    Oh…The Humanity!

  • Karen Fayeth

    *Awesome* story, Emmett!

  • Anonymous

    Nah, I’m still stuck with the visuals in the duckling story!

    Nice writing!


  • sharon

    Great story! I myself have lived in the bay area for 14yrs back in the 70’s-80’s!! Best time of my life!! Enjoy!! more of those kind of stories please!!


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