amberite_archive: (fourth doctor looking vulnerable)
So at New Seasons today I had to park my car (named Zeetha after a Girl Genius character) very awkwardly because of a large vehicle next to me that was somewhat over the parking spot line. Hence I was over the line in my space.

By the time I was getting out, the large vehicle was gone. Instead there was an older woman in a neatly parked Volvo next to me. Having trouble opening my passenger side door to shove groceries in, I struck up a conversation with her. I don't recall who spoke first; somewhere along the line I apologized for the awkward parking and explained why; she asked how long I'd been in Portland, I laughed and said "- Oh, the California plates? My parents gave me this car and I haven't changed them yet, I've been here for years." I mentioned I was a student and that I'd be taking the MCAT this week. Somewhere in that conversation she handed me a few dollars. I said "-- why are you giving me money?" She said "Go spend this on gas." I don't usually refuse people who hand me money, especially if they look relatively well-off, so I accepted it and thanked her, though puzzled. She had a little difficulty starting her Volvo and I gave her the name and location of some most excellent Volvo mechanics, for which she thanked me profusely, saying that she was getting poor service from her previous mechanic.

As I went around to get something out of my shopping cart I saw the coffee splashed on Zeetha's hood, stirrer sticks and all.

"Huh," I said. "That's weird, someone poured a cup of coffee on my hood. Wonder who'd do that? Probably because of how I was parked, or the California plates..."

The old woman looked very sheepish and said "Actually, that was me."

"That was why you handed me the money, wasn't it?" The puzzle pieces were coming together in my mind.

"I don't know what got into me. I'm so sorry!"

I laughed out loud. She'd been so friendly and courteous - and curious - the whole time we'd spoken, I knew exactly what had got into her, because the same thing happens to me from time to time: anger and frustration builds up about a small problem until it happens for the n-plus-oneth time and I snap. The person who has committed the n-plus-oneth infraction might have nothing but the best intentions, but it's lost on the head of steam I've built up.

As such, I knew this situation intimately and felt nothing but sympathetic. It might have been different if there was anything damaging on my car - an egg, say - but this was clearly just a gesture of frustration, and not real vandalism. She seemed to be the same kind of character as me, in some underlying way: a neighborhood eccentric with a hot temper and a good heart.

"Don't worry about it. Seriously, the coffee doesn't worry me at all. I've been needing a car wash for months due to all the tree resin that falls on it, and this is just a reminder to go in and do it already. I'm going to go wash my car as soon as I leave, and this car will be so much happier after that."

She nodded and said "Actually could you give me that three dollars back and I'll hand you a ten?"

"Only if you can look me in the eyes and tell me you can spare it easily."

She did. We made the exchange; I thanked her, and wrote down the name of my old Volvo mechanic, adding that when she did see them she'd probably save more than ten bucks on the difference.

I parted from her smiling and reassuring her that it had all worked out perfectly, amidst her continued chagrined apologies. I got a free car wash out of the experience, she got the name of an excellent mechanic, and we both got a wonderfully strange reminder to have sympathy for other people's bad days and make kinder assumptions of others.
amberite_archive: (chaos)
This one Northwest-specific:

Only one in ten adult job-seekers in the Pacific Northwest will find a living-wage job.

(P.S. - some of their math seems a little odd, but I'm guessing they mean that one in three seekers will find a job, and 28% of jobs are living wage, which is reasonably supported by other numbers I've seen.)

I look at what I'm doing right now - making ends meet month to month with unreported work I can't put on my resume - and suddenly, I feel kind of clever for it, instead of wanting to kick myself for getting into a rut. Rut, hell. My lifestyle's a lot more reliable than it might be!

I have some things to be thankful for, damned straight. I'm not happy about the general picture right now, though. The Obama administration is going to have a heap of work to do. I want to point out [livejournal.com profile] elfwreck's and [livejournal.com profile] greenling's comments here, and I was interested as well in what the rest of you had to say in response to my previous post - a lot of good points were brought up.

Home again!

Jun. 5th, 2008 05:46 am
amberite_archive: (lovelovelove)
And I can load Livejournal fast, and I have a cat in my lap, and my people are sleeping but I failed at the sleeping, and.

Portland. Infinite possibilities at my fingertips. I like this feeling. This place is good.

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