Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Golden Rule

B and I have been doing a little living room redecorating. We've come to the conclusion that there are no curtains containing the correct color comination and no pillows that will be patterened perfectly. We visited every home store within a 20 mile radius and have bickered relentlessly about what will accent the couch and current paint job the best.We went in and out of stores today emptyhanded, heaving sighs of dissapointment and frustration as we exited. Baby B, always along for the ride, finally threw up his hands after hours of searching and said, "Hold up! Everyone needs to settle down and get a Starbucks!"

We agreed - never the types to argue with a baby - and ended our day at 8-o-clock, sipping frothy hot cocoa despite the 70 degree weather outside. We chose a table inside, and I immediately noticed a young man sitting alone at the table to the right of us. He looked to about twenty, dressed in a collared shirt, khakis, and white, velcro shoes. About two dozen Polaroid pictures laid before him. It was obvious from the velcro shoes and his mannerisms that this man was unique.

I watched him out of the corner of my eye as we sat there talking. He continued to admire the pictures, and eventually retrieved a plastic baggie from his pocket and began to collect the pictures. He then put the baggie away, placing the pictures again before him, smiling all the while.

My mind began to wonder, and I saw this situation through a mother's eyes - something I do frequently now that Baby B is in our lives. This was someone's son, alone, on a Saturday night, sipping from an empty McAllister's plastic cup, admiring rows and rows of Polaroids. I teared up immediately, imagining my own son seeming so socially discarded. Did he have a family? Was he waiting on someone? What if someone forgot to pick him up?

Noticing that I was choking up, B asked what was wrong. I tilted my head in the man's direction and B , with a heart just as big as mine, turned to the man.

What are your pictures of? B asked.

The man, startled, smiled at us.

My friends, he replied.

A conversation pursued. He graduated from one of the local high schools and worked next to Starbucks at McAllisters. He drank his tea unsweetened. He told us his name. We admired his pictures. We promised to come for lunch and visit him. He said he would like that.

We were two steps outside of Starbucks when I began to sob. The thought of this man sitting with pictures of friends instead of actual friends just tore at my heart. As we rounded the corner to head towards the parking lot, I peered through the window and noticed that the teenagers sitting next to us had now sparked a conversation with our new friend. I would like to think that we somehow inspired this interaction.

Once Baby B was snuggled into his carseat and we were driving home, B turned to me and said, "Ya know, there's a lot of stuff that just doesn't matter."

"I know...like coordinating curtains and pillows?" I replied.

"Yup."

It was not charity that drove us tonight. It was humanity. Plain and simple.

"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you."

2 comments:

Laura said...

What a fabulous blog and a fun read! Thanks for the blog love - you have such a beautiful family! xo Laura

Sharon said...

You are very observant of the people around you and sensitive to their feelings. You are so special Abby...so very special! And B is equally special!!

Love you!
Sharon