It seems there is a shortage of nice these days. I’m not talking about taking off to volunteer your time in the Peace Corp building wells or adopting a herd of stray dogs or cats. I’m talking about generally being nice to other people. We’re all so busy, or proving we’re right, or we think we’re too important to be nice to someone who’s below us. Being nice, apart from being a good thing to do can pay off with good karma.
I got a parking ticket this week. I had it coming. The fact that it was my own fault in no way made me any happier about getting it. So I went to pay the ticket, as if you don’t pay it quickly in this town, it jumps from $40 to the same amount as a mortgage payment or enough to buy a small private jet. The woman in charge of payments was clearly not having a “good day.” She asked me if I had any excuse I wanted to offer and I admitted that “nope, it was all my fault.” Apparently, this isn’t a common answer as she laughed. Their computer was having trouble so it was taking time to find the ticket. We chatted for a few minutes while she found me in the system. When she found the ticket she looked up at me and then said: “You know, I’ll wave the ticket this time. You have a good day.”
Just a day later I called to book a service person to come to the house. Apparently sixty zillion other people were also trying to book a technician. The receptionist told me that she’d check the schedule, but it would likely take a few weeks. I could hear in her voice that she expected me to lose my mind. “No worries,” I said. “It’s a sprinkler system, not a kidney I’m waiting for.” She then paused and said, “you know, I can squeeze you in next week.”
I wasn’t nice with the hope that it would pay off, it just did. I didn’t even think I was being that nice. My guess is that I was the only one who had been nice to them all day. Try it some time- let me know how it works for you.
While it may seem as if I’ve dropped off the face of the earth, this isn’t true. Merely traveling and then having some family in town. This week things get back to normal. Or at least what passes for normal in my life. This means more time spent making stuff up all day and swinging wildly back and forth between loving what I just made up and thinking it’s total crap.
I spent last week in one of my favorite places in the world, NYC. It’s hard to say how much I love that city. Could be the library (divine), the shops (insane), the cocktail lounges (sinful), the galleries. museums (educational and fascinating all at the same time), or simply wandering around watching people. For an obsessed people watcher, NYC is like crack.
There is also no doubt that part of my attraction is having a chance to catch up with various people I know in publishing. I love this in part because the people I’ve met in publishing are darn nice and also happen to share my passion for books. However, part of it is still the thrill of thinking “I know people in publishing!” This never gets old for me.
I’ve also been to NYC a few times so I am starting to feel like I know my way around a bit. Or to be more precise, when I get lost, I am much more confident in my ability to eventually figure out where I am supposed to be. While there someone on the street stopped me asked for directions. I was THRILLED. They thought I looked like I belonged there! Granted, there are a lot of odd people in NYC so looking like you fit in may not always be a compliment, nevertheless it felt great. What made it better is that I even know where they wanted to go. I felt like a rockstar.
It doesn’t take much for me to feel like a rockstar. When people find out I’m a writer sometimes they’re impressed and I try and act cool. “Yes, I have a few novels out now.” Of course in the inside what I’m saying is: ”I know!! Isn’t that awesome! Can you believe it? Me neither.” Some people have an inner child, I have an inner dork.
While NYC was great it is good to be headed home. I miss my dog, my own bed and being on a sidewalk that is not shared by sixty bazillion people. I have family coming to town tomorrow so it’s my turn to show off my city!
It’s a crazy week for me. A good kind of crazy, seeing friends, chatting writing, going here and there. As a result I am fresh out of amusing stuff. In the meantime, enjoy this.
Never accept leftovers from someone who works in a vet clinic.
Wondering how I know this wisdom? Allow me to explain. Last week our dog Cairo had what is known on TV and in magazine ads as “tummy trouble.” This is a much more appealing way of explaining what was happening in the nether regions of our dog. It appeared to be unpleasant for him, and it was certainly unpleasant for the rest of us. As a result, I bundled him off to the vet to see if they couldn’t do something to sort of “firm things up.”
I should start by saying we have a great vet. Nice people. Clean clinic with all the bells and whistles. They give out dehydrated organic chicken nuggets if you stop by. To the dogs, not the people. (I suppose if you asked they would give you a chicken nugget too. I’ve never tried.) So Mr. Cairo goes in and is poked and prodded. One of the problems of having a dog is that they are incapable of telling you what the problem might be. For example: “I knew I shouldn’t have eaten that dead thing that I found on our walk on the beach, but I’m sure after a day or two I’ll be fine.” Versus: “I have a raging pancreas that will soon explode and cause all sorts of expensive vet bills if left untreated.”
After some looking at the dog the vet determines that yep- he sure does have a nasty case of “tummy trouble,” but we are none the wiser as to the cause of said tummy issues. Thus, more tests were needed including a urinary screen. The vet tech helpfully advised that on Cairo’s next trip to the outdoors as soon as he got down to business to slide a Tupperware container under his back end and then bring it in to be tested.
So Cairo goes out and I follow behind him with my trusty Gladware. On cue I shove it under him and he scoots away as fast as he can with a look that pretty much screams: Bad Touch! Then he wanders off into the bushes to finish in private, because apparently I can no longer be trusted to give him the space he needs. I bundle up what I have, hoping that “spill proof locking lid” really works, and take it into the vet. The vet tech takes the container in the back and then comes back out with the empty container.
“Do you want this back?” She asks.
First off, even if I separated it out into a special “this Tupperware is only to be used for carrying around dog waste” place, there is no guarantee it would stay there. All my leftover containers sort of mill about in a free for all in the drawer. With my luck I’d be sitting down for lunch and suddenly think: “Wait a minute, why was this the last Tupperware dish in the drawer…..” I don’t need that kind of upset in my life. Plus, it might give me tummy trouble.