Some days I just want to solve the worlds larger societal problems like poverty, starvation, exploitation, child labor...you get the picture. I wake up hungry and dissatisfied, and am burdened for hours with irrational impulses. Most recently, Friday the 13th -- no joke. I went through the infamous coffee drive through, a vice I struggle with, and even drag my children into now, but possibly we can discuss that at some other opportunity. So yes, I am desperate. I actually strap my three year old and my 18 month old into their seats and drive an exit [sometimes four when I am really needy of a break] up the freeway and get myself some nice warm caffeine to go. We had one other [or actual, rather] errand for that morning: Go to the huge Hardware store for one very small purchase. And lucky me, there is one of those huge Hardware stores right by the "hot coffee place" as my three year old now identifies them from her car seat.
With my delicious drink in the cup holder, I pull away from the window. The teenager has told me to have a good day, and I am overtaken with one of those immediate irrational impulses. "You want to drive" my mind races, reassures, and further convinces me: "All the way down to that other huge Hardware store". So maybe I wanted more of a break, or a scenic trip down another freeway, or maybe I really do like this other huge Hardware store better. Or secretly, I thought I might save the world. We do our best in my family; reusing, recycling, buying organic, etc.
On my quick drive to the other huge Hardware store, I notice a stalled car on the side of the road, conveniently parked at an underpass. Two people are surfing the web on their MacBook. Two rather young people. As you guys all know, we are always on our way somewhere...and it is never convenient to actually care...so I drive on by, and began to negotiate just which small product I wanted to buy amidst 30 of its competitors on the shelf. Doing something this simple, yet profoundly complicated, actually swallows up a lot of time, with two little people in the cart reaching for various bottles of poison from the lawn and garden section.
Eventually, my indecisiveness gets the best of me, and I purchase three products, instead of settling for just one that might let me down, and we pile back into the cart, and the car, and retrace our trip back home. Time has passed. I glance over at the now-abandoned car, and further down, I notice those two people walking. Again, impulsively, I act. And without any conscious thought, I have exited the freeway, entered in the other direction, and pulled to the shoulder, now driving head-on towards the people I subsequently find myself begging to get into my car.
"I need to rescue you", I keep restraining my tongue from blurting out, and blabbing my neurosis. So, I assure Zach and April that using my cell phone will hardly help them, and they should pile in my car -- with my two kids consuming every inch of the comfortable back seat -- and I should drive them somewhere. Anywhere. Like any good citizen, looking to be nominated for Best Citizen Award this year, should do.
Reluctantly, they join my craziness, and even share their address with me, so I can end world hunger, and poverty too, and maybe get them out of their current mess a few hours quicker than walking. And I learn that we are neighbors. They live less than a short walk from me. And we have never met. Because I am usually way too busy contemplating the housing crisis or welfare reform, that I hardly have any time to meet my neighbors.
Today, I stopped myself from baking them cookies.