Friday, March 15, 2019
I Have Seen My Future (I Hope)
One of the drawbacks of my new job is the commute. It's an hour's drive each way in rush hour traffic, which makes it seem very long.
Fortunately, there's the train! This makes the commute slightly longer -- I have to drive 15 minutes to the station -- but it's totally stress-free. The trains are very clean and not very crowded, plus I have a whole hour to play on the phone or read a book or basically, do whatever I want. I think I'm really going to like it.
Last week, though, I had one of those Oh No moments while walking from work to the station. The brick pavers were uneven in some places and I had on my work shoes, with more of a heel than I'm used to. So I tripped and fell, landing pretty hard on my knees and forearm. It was very embarrassing and a little bit upsetting, too.
No one was near me when I fell, although there were some people off in the distance. As I was gathering my wits and putting some things back in my purse, I noticed a group of young people approaching. From my almost-elder years, I can say they were typical 20-somethings: all shapes, all sizes, all colors/races/ethnicities, basically the kind of well-mixed group that was extremely uncommon during my years growing up in the South, where everyone in my circle was white. (Don't get me wrong: I consider it progress that things aren't so homogenized anymore.)
I could hear one of them say in the distance, "Whew, I've done that. Ouch." They came up to me and bent over with concern: "Are you all right?" And then a beautiful young woman with long dark hair extended her hand to me and asked, "Would you like me to help you up?"
I know it sounds weird, but I had one of those moments when time slows down. I looked up into her face, and despite my usual tendency to resist showing any sign of weakness whatsoever, I thought, "Yes, yes I would."
So I said that, and took her hand in my right hand. At the same time, I could see in my peripheral vision another hand to my left, which belonged to an impossibly tall and slender young black man -- who also had extended his hand me. I took their hands, and stood up, saying "Thank you, thank you so much, you are so kind" to each of them. And then they were gone.
I realize now I was probably still a bit stunned. I also understand why people feel that they're helped by angels in far worse situations -- angels who seem to appear when needed and disappear when the task is done. It seemed like that to me. It was lovely.
What has stayed with me since then is the feeling that this is what aging will be like, if I'm lucky. I will need help and -- if my luck holds -- young, strong, kind strangers will be there to offer it. I realize those helpers will probably be paid to help me, modern life being what it is. I hope that when that time comes, I will remember this small episode and muster the grace to accept the help they offer, and to be grateful.