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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:00 am 
The Artist formerly known as Rhoenix
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There is a certain part of you - the part that feels compassion for others. The part of you that feels empathy for someone with a terrible circumstance, the part of you that hurts when someone you love is hurt.

That part is known by many names in various beliefs, and many concepts. Usually, either the part of you that is still connected to God/the Universe/etc., or your direct connection to God/the Universe/etc.

And, in the end, it really doesn't matter - a rose, as Mr. Shakespeare would say, would still smell as sweet.

We spend much time in various pursuits each day, much time invested in projects, ideas, irritation, joys, and boredom. I've been reminded lately by various things that it is good to simply take a small bit of time out of each day to simply remember and honor that part of you that still likes people.

For me, it is meditation - a process by which I sit for thirty minutes staring at a wall, keeping my attention on each breath - each full inhale of air, and each full exhale, gently returning my attention to my breathing when my mind wanders, as it will. During this time, I just feel that empathy, that love for others, and just let it be - honoring it for what I can perceive and understand of it.

Your mileage and personal approach may (and almost certainly will) vary. And, in the end, it doesn't matter - even if you just try to help people a little bit each day and call it good.

Just be a bit more conscious about the effect you have on others, and remember the part of you that likes people and want things to go well... even if not everyone you run into that day does.

That fact that you're aware of these things, and trying to do your own small part to make things a little better is enough.

_________________
"Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes."

- William Gibson


Josh wrote:
What? There's nothing weird about having a pet housefly. He smuggles cigarettes for me.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:04 pm 
Resident of the Kingdom of Eternal Cockjobbery
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Story time!

Back in 2000-2001 thereabouts

(Jesus, that was nearly fifteen years ago)

I was a strapping young-ish lad doing delivery work for Family Dollar along a theoretically five-state (and more practically eleven state) region. It was a brutal, nasty job with long-ass hours, the joy of physical labor as you lumped thousands of pounds of freight, for a reasonably decent paycheck. You got the pleasure of traveling to all the worst ghettos in the aforementioned eleven states (I used to joke that Family Dollar planned their store sites based on the local murder rate. One store in Houston was the first time I'd seen a commercial strip mall with a parking lot that had a fence topped with concertina wire.)

Deliveries were usually to places that were not designed to take full length tractor trailers, often in residential areas and often with arcane means of entry that required a great deal of awkward maneuvering or long loop-arounds on busy streets if you came in the wrong way the first time.

So during a delivery off Loop 6 in Dallas in a particularly choice neighborhood where I had a young lady who jumped up on my running board right as I got stopped to inquire as to whether I desired some commoditized company, things had gone pretty shitty on getting lined into the store. At one point I'd had to make a big circuit of the neighborhood and there were folks claiming to be a church group selling peanut M&Ms at the stoplight. So I bought a pack (that I couldn't even eat, being allergic to everything in them) because fuck I was pissed at the neighborhood and if anybody was trying to make it better, I had their back.

(Later I found out that the pimps would deploy their hookers to sell candy during the slow daylight hours, so I just partially financed some dipshit's line of blow.)

Anyway, I get done and head back up to home base, Duncan Oklahoma.

When I get there, I saw that one of the gate guards was beyond frustration as she checked me in. So there I am, fresh pack of peanut M&Ms waiting to melt on my dashboard, so on the way out when she did the seal check on my outbound trailer I jumped out and ran over to give her the M&Ms, told her she looked like she needed them. Saw her wave at me and eat her M&Ms as I drove away.

After that, we became pretty good buds. The guards and the drivers assigned to the center were pretty tight- they were the ones who saw us staggering in after hundred hour weeks with no showers and a meal schedule that would sometimes be generously described as 'every other day or so'. But in the evenings I'd hang around and chat with my guard peeps, and she was one of them. She was an aspiring writer, and I made some suggestions on how she could get a recorder to get her ideas on record while they were fresh, stuff like that, and basically encouraged her to get on the literary path.

A few months later a couple of random brain cells jarred loose and I decided to get the fuck off that job while I was still alive and vaguely in one piece. We usually ran ten percent of our force on worker's comp any given month, I'd done my turn after getting a hole poked in my foot, plus I'd blown up my back pretty good (and only done a week of light duty because it was during a rush season and I was all dumbass good trooperish), gotten a concussion, dislocated my shoulder... yeah, shit sucked.

So I said my goodbyes, got out of the fleet and eventually out of that shithook company altogether.

So then three years later, with a different company, I got a load of inbound freight for the old Duncan DC and it was a lot like a homecoming. The company I worked for at the time had been shit, but I'd always loved those folks at the DC, especially my special aspiring writer bud. Given the vagaries of shifts and days off, I had no expectation of seeing her. But then when I walked in and said hi, she tackled me in a big old bear hug and we had a happy reunion. She told me that I'd changed her life and so I'm all 'How?' with visions of her whipping out her newly published book or somesuch. But she told me about the first day we'd met, when I'd given her the M&Ms and how she'd been having just a horrible day, and then I came along and gave her some candy and made her feel better, and from the day on she'd just decided to never let life get her down like that again.

(I'm all "That's it? The freaking M&Ms?" to myself.)

Honestly I was so gobsmacked (and tired, I'd had a long shift coming in) that I never even inquired as to her writing career. But it always stuck with me, the power of a single, casual gesture. It was just an off-hand thing to me, a way to show my appreciation for the guard staff* that watched out for us, but she was serious about how much influence it had had on her.

Ever since then, I've always kind of made it a personal objective to brighten things for people I meet, especially out there in the middle of the grind. I also try to do so in a not-platitude style, more of a 'we're in this together' attitude than anything. You never know when one gesture, for good or ill, will really have a massive and meaningful effect on somebody's life.

* I'm not kidding when I mean that we loved our guard staff. One time I was passing through Marlow, the town dead north of Duncan, and they were having a big watermelon sale. So I stopped and bought a watermelon, figuring I'd give it to the guards. When I pulled up, I saw no less than eight watermelons in the window of the guard shack from all the drivers who'd passed through earlier. So I gave my watermelon to the office folks, who were also pretty cool. I did love that facility and the team I was on, which is the main reason I stuck with that otherwise miserable (though reasonably lucrative) job for a year and a half.

_________________
When the Frog God smiles, arm yourself.
Image
"'Flammable' and 'inflammable' have the same meaning! This language is insane!"
GIVE ME COFFEE AND I WILL ALLOW YOU TO LIVE!- Frigid
"Ork 'as no automatic code o' survival. 'is partic'lar distinction from all udda livin' gits is tha necessity ta act inna face o' alternatives by means o' dakka."
I created the sound of madness, wrote the book on pain


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:26 pm 
The Artist formerly known as Rhoenix
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I think that story is a perfect example, Josh - after all, you never know when you're making a memory for someone else. Thank you for writing that out - it was great to read. :)

_________________
"Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes."

- William Gibson


Josh wrote:
What? There's nothing weird about having a pet housefly. He smuggles cigarettes for me.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:39 pm 
Resident of the Kingdom of Eternal Cockjobbery
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Location: Kingdom of Eternal Cockjobbery
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There's a very self-serving aspect (in a good way) to going about with a positive attitude. If you're sending the good vibes, it improves your own day.

People who are dicks go through life being stressed out because they expect everyone to dick them in return. On the other hand, if you brighten someone's day it serves to dissipate the stress of your own life. Which is why I try to especially bring the sunshine when I'm having a shit time.

_________________
When the Frog God smiles, arm yourself.
Image
"'Flammable' and 'inflammable' have the same meaning! This language is insane!"
GIVE ME COFFEE AND I WILL ALLOW YOU TO LIVE!- Frigid
"Ork 'as no automatic code o' survival. 'is partic'lar distinction from all udda livin' gits is tha necessity ta act inna face o' alternatives by means o' dakka."
I created the sound of madness, wrote the book on pain


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