There are many things that make me go, “Hmmmm.” People who stand on street corners are one of them.
I’m not talking about people waiting for the bus or people trying to cross a street. I’m talking about people who stand there with no clear mission or purpose.
I understand why street preachers preach. I understand why the anti-abortion guy walks around our city pushing a stroller with a doll in it. I understand why “ladies of the evening” strut down the road. I understand why politicians stand on street corners and wave to cars on the eve of an election. I understand why employees walk around with a picketing sign. I even understand why sign spinners are dancing in front of their store. I don’t necessarily agree with any of their reasons or methods, but I do understand why they do it.
What I do not understand is this:
What would prompt a grown woman to wear orange gloves and stand on a busy street corner with a sign that reads, “It’s all about how we treat one another on earth.”
She couldn’t be happier. She couldn’t wave more enthusiastically. She couldn’t smile any bigger. She couldn’t look any sillier.
What is she doing there? Did she lose a bet? Is she on a new reality TV show I have not heard about yet? Is this her calling in life? Is this some sort of cruel & unusual punishment some unorthodox judge gave her? Is she getting paid to do this? If so, who would pay for such a thing? Barney?? If she is not getting paid for this, what motivates her to do it? What is her end goal? How does she know if she is successful? I truly want to know.
Of course, I don’t want to get out of my car to find out. She may try to recruit me to join her and I hate saying no to happy people. Why can’t these people ever post their email address??
Come to think of it, she was out there on the day before our National election. Perhaps there is a connection there? We tend to be pretty ugly to each other when it comes to politics. And religion. And sports. Maybe her message is more important than we think – particularly in this divisive climate we find ourselves in.
Last night as I was driving home, I came upon a woman who drove her car into a ditch. I couldn’t help but laugh (on the inside) as that was my mother’s worst fear for me as a teenage driver. Here she was, a mother herself, with her car in a literal ditch. Naturally, I stopped to help. Within minutes, two other men also offered their services.
I directed traffic, the man with the truck attached a chain to her car and the third gentlemen guided the car out of the ditch. It was a good Samaritan moment – a true team effort. Because of where her car was stuck, it caused traffic to back up on three different intersecting roads. Because of this, directing traffic was essential to not only get her car out but for everyone’s safety. While the three of us worked feverishly to get her car unstuck, someone in line decided to lay on their horn. Repeatedly. I couldn’t help but wonder why. Because of where the car was stuck, everyone in all three lines of traffic could see what we were doing. They could see that we were working as hard and fast as we could to get everyone on their way. And yet this person honked like an angry goose. It made me go, “Hmmmm.”
What is it with some people? One impatiently honks at you for helping a stranded stranger while another stands on a street corner smiling with an overly friendly sign for no apparent reason.
This holiday season, I’m going to smile more. I’m going to continue to help parents who end up in the ditches they warn us about. I’m going to open more doors, pull out lady chairs, say “please” and “thank you” and “sir” and “ma’am” to everyone in my path and honk less. And I’m going to do it without a sign telling me to.
That should make people go, “Hmmmm.”