talk to strangers about the weather

January 4th, 2012

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.

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  1. Thank you for pointing out these opportunites for kindness–opportunities that are always there for the noticing. I appreciate you!

    Comment by Hugh — January 4, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

  2. Important reminders for all of us as we start this New Year. xo

    Comment by Christine @ Coffees & Commutes — January 5, 2012 @ 4:15 am

  3. Such a perfect life reminder as we start a new year.

    PS – wish it was 88 degrees here in Nashville! It was 31 when I left the house today. 🙂

    Comment by Liz Taylor — January 5, 2012 @ 7:41 am

  4. And when you offer to buy an extra taco for the homeless man who camps out in front of the public library, ask him first if he prefers beans, chicken, or beef. Then ask his name and tell him yours. Introduce him to your five-year old. Return with the taco. And feel blessed when he wishes you well.

    Comment by Jena — January 5, 2012 @ 8:11 am

  5. Thank you for the reminders, Maezen. I know folks who won’t give money to homeless people (of whom there are way too many in my city) because they think they’re going to spend it on booze or drugs. My feeling is that if someone is forced to beg on the streets, that person needs my spare change. We don’t have control over their lives…we don’t even have control over our own lives! And I can’t help but feel, “There but for the grace of god, go I.”

    Comment by Robin — January 5, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

  6. Karen, you so nailed it! This is exactly the best way to ‘see’ things and live. Thanks for the reminder.

    Comment by Jim — January 5, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

  7. Precisely. Imagine what the world would be if we’d all just heed this advice. Imagine. (sigh)

    Comment by Shawn — January 6, 2012 @ 11:45 am

  8. I am standing and cheering.
    Thank you.

    Comment by Jen — January 9, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

  9. We all know these simple things, it is good to be reminded. ‘Life is short, opportunity is lost, do not squander your life…’
    thank you

    Comment by Judith Smith — January 13, 2012 @ 5:13 am

  10. Just discovering you, reading and traveling through your posts, makes me happy and thankful for discovering you!

    Comment by Astrid de Keulenaar — November 20, 2012 @ 11:21 pm

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