Picture this: You don't own a car and never did. It's cold outside and you find yourself standing at the bus stop waiting for it to come. The wind feels like zero below, and you wrap your arms around yourself and dance on your two feet shifting from one foot to the other. All of a sudden you see a car come to a stop and you realize it's your neighbor who lives right next door to you. You try to smile, but your cheeks are so cold they feel like your face would crack in two. So instead, you wave to your neighbor--hoping against hope that they will offer you a ride, because after all, you live right next door to each other. But wouldn't you know it, the traffic light turns green, your neighbor toots the horn and proceeds moving foward leaving you and your dead thoughts standing in the cold.
When you finally reach your house, your body is so numb you've become immune to the cold. Moving much like a stiff soldier watching guard over his post, you fumble for your house keys and notice that your neighbor made it home just a little before you. Because it's dark outside, you assume the car is empty, and then you hear a click and realize your neighbor was sitting in his car. Right away you're pissed because what kind of neighbor would just pass you by at the bus stop and toot his horn, and never even offer you a ride on a cold night such as this, and then he has the nerve to open his mouth and say, "Hey, how you doing?" Well ain't this a bitch!
Picture this: You live in an apartment complex and one of your coworkers happens to live in the same complex as you. You've been friends for quite a while, and stop in at each others apartments from time to time, and hang out, toss back a few beers and maybe watch some movies. Your coworker owns a car, and yours is in the shop being worked on, so you've been taking the train to and from work. Your coworker/friend knows of your situation, but never once asked if you'd like to ride to work with her. When you leave work, she shoots you a smile and a wave and tells you, "See ya tomorrow," knowing that you're both going to the same apartment complex, but never offers you a ride. Well ain't this a bitch!
Has either of those scenarios ever happened to you? Well I can say with certainty that I've been in similar situations, which always managed to bother me why your friends and/or neighbors treat each other this way? How neighborly should one be? What kind of friend can kick it with you at home and at work, knowing you're going through a rough patch and doesn't offer to help you in some kind of way? And better yet, are these so-called friends/neighbors obligated to do anything for you?
If you haven't guessed by now, I've been in sort of a mood lately when it comes to people because it just boggles my mind with what people do today. Not that I'm a perfect person because that's impossible to be, but I do try to be kind to others, but somehow people have a way of always letting me down. And if it isn't me they are letting down, it's someone close to me that it's happening to.
When I get to questioning the human behavior, I usually always consult my mother because she always keeps it real and gives me the best advice than any other person I know. So when I mentioned years ago that a neighbor had seen me at the bus stop and tooted his horn and kept on driving, knowing that I was going to the exact same place as he was going, or perhaps he couldn't know, but he could have rolled down his window to ask, my mom said something to me that I will never forget, and it changed the way I handle those type of sticky situations.
She said, "do you pay their car note?" I responded, "no!" "Do you put gas in their car?" Again I responded, "no!" "Do you upkeep their car and maintenance?" Getting agitated because I could clearly see where she was going with this line of questioning, I responded, "No, Ma," she responded, "then you don't have any right to get angry with that person. Sure, it would have been nice for him to offer you a ride, but he's not obligated to do a damn thing for you!" Oookay, so there she put the words out into the open. Keepin' it real real for sure. I didn't want to hear her say that. I wanted her to agree with me, but as much as I hate to admit it she was absolutely right.
I made a promise that day to myself that if I were ever blessed to have a car, I would never do to my neighbors what they have so many times done to me. And I'm proud to say I've kept that promise. When I've seen one of my neighbors out and about, I always ask as a courtesy if they are going home, and sometimes they say, "thanks for asking but I'm going somewhere else," or other times they will say, "sure thanks so much." I remember how that felt to be standing at those damn cold ass bus stops waiting and wishing I had some wheels of my own.
To me, it really isn't hurting anything or going out of my way if I'm going in the same direction as one of my neighbors or friends. How could I not offer a ride to someone? It's not like my car is using any more gas than it had too. What's the big deal? But that's just the way I am, and not everyone sees it that way. Perhaps some people feel that their neighbor will become a burden or a pest assuming they are to be driven somewhere and maybe they are trying to avoid that? Just as easy as it is for me to offer someone a ride, I certainly know how to say no. I truly don't have a problem telling anyone no, if it doesn't fit in with what I need to do.
So the next time you see a friend or neighbor with a car and they toot and pass you by, remember what my mother said so many years ago, do you pay their car note? This will help keep things in perspective!
I hope each and every one of you enjoyed your Thanksgiving Holiday, and now the countdown begins for Christmas. Boy, where the hell did this year go? Until next time readers. . .
|Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet|