Whenever I see something I’ve written reflected back this way, I know the message is for me. That’s the case with this excerpt from Hand Wash Cold, which is being recirculated right about the time I’d rather hole up with my own precious self, doing what I want, when I want, how I want. So right now is a good time talk to strangers about the weather, especially since it’s 88 degrees on January 4.
Do you want to live in friendship or fear? Paradise or paranoia? We are each citizens of the place we make, so make it a better place.
At the grocery store, give your place in line to the person behind you.
Ask the checker how her day is going, and mean it.
On the way out, give your pocket money to the solicitor at the card table no matter what the cause.
Buy a cup of lemonade from the kids at the sidewalk stand.
Tell them to keep the change.
Roll down your car window when you see the homeless man on the corner with the sign. Give him money. Have no concern over what he will do with it.
Smile at him. It will be the first smile he has seen in a very long time.
Do not curse your neighbor’s tall grass, weeds, foul temperament, or house color. Given time, things change by themselves. Even your annoyance.
Thank the garbageman. Be patient with the postal worker. Leave the empty parking space for someone else to take. They will feel lucky.
Buy cookies from the Girl Scouts and a sack of oranges from the poor woman standing in the broiling heat at the intersection.
Talk to strangers about the weather.
Allow others to be themselves, with their own point of view.
If you judge them, you are in error.
Do not let difference make a difference.
Do not despair over the futility of your impact or question the outcome.
Do not pass while the lights are flashing.
Trusting life means trusting where you are, and trusting where you’ll go, and trusting the way in between, as on a bus trip, the driving left to someone else. It’s bumpy but remarkably reliable.