A Word of Advice

The Kid likes to project a certain image.  Being raised in the city has convinced the child of possessing colossal amounts of “street cred” accumulated from years of living on the mean streets.

Never mind the meanest street with which my baby ever interacted was one particularly ornery avenue that caused a skinned knee during bike-riding lessons.

The Kid is a fraud.Don’t get me wrong; there’s a certain amount of the aforementioned street cred.  My spawn is afraid to go nowhere and is in no way gullible or a soft touch.

But contrary to the vigorously maintained misanthropy, my funny little offspring is full of care and concern toward fellow men.  And corn nuts too—the child is often quite full of corn nuts.I have seen this “misanthrope” walk out of restaurant carrying takeout, only to give it away to someone who needs it.  I also have seen, on more than one occasion, the effort to make things right when we’re in an establishment and another customer is being an arrogant butthead.  Whether it’s doubling the tip or giving the put-upon employee an opportunity to vent, The Kid tries to make it better.

Around the age of four, we were at the grocery store.  The check-out girl and my child were chatting as we were rung up.  The conversation was going well, and The Kid decided the young woman was a new friend.  And had a very important question to ask her.“Do you have somebody that loves you?”

I was only about 20% mortified.  Because I knew what The Kid meant.

The Kid was trying to make sure that this shiny new grocery store friend had people who looked after her and had her back.  Friends and family who made her world a safe, happy place.

And the young worker understood, as well.  “I sure do, Shug.  And aren’t you sweet to ask?”So, that’s The Kid—a stealth altruist.

But promise you won’t let on…there’s that image to protect.

And this secretly sweet child made a New Year’s resolution last year that has taken hold and only brings good things in return.If, Gentle Reader, you’ve read more than a few of these published psychological exsanguinations of mine, then you probably wouldn’t be very surprised to discover that most of what I think is either spontaneously spoken to all present or written down for public consumption.

To some people, the shock is that I actually do censor myself.  I normally only share about 75% of what I think.  To share more would most likely remove that last vestige of doubt that I ain’t right and see me enjoying an extended stay at any one of our state’s many lovely and accredited mental health facilities.This means that I’m constantly striking up conversations with strangers.  And through this I meet awesome people every single day.

If somebody’s rocking an amazing pair of shoes, I tell them.  Is that exhausted-looking mom heroically holding it all together?  I congratulate her doing an impossible job in an exemplary manner.  Is the kid behind the counter efficient and sweet?  I thank the worker, and usually find their supervisor and tell them what a gem they have.What my kind, but uber-reticent child resolved to do is when observing something that deserves praise, gives it.  If speaking up can brighten someone’s day, why stay silent?

So now, my traditionally taciturn tadpole takes the time to talk (too much with the alliteration?).And, inspired by my bambino, I’ve worked hard to overcome my innate bashfulness and attempt sharing as well.

So, now the total’s approximately 78.375%.  Look out World!

Thanks for your time.

In Defense of Friendliness

Yeah, yeah, yeah, don’t talk to strangers.  I heard it from my parents when I was a kid.  Later on I heard it from Petey and The Kid (Don’t they sound like a buddy cop movie, though?  Maybe played by Bob Newhart and Tim Curry).  And I still get it when I’m out—pretty much every time.

But I pay them no mind.

Costco came to our town when The Kid was in elementary school.  The folks there, are to a person, kind and cordial.

Uncle Joe knows what’s up.

Shopping there I quickly became familiar, then friendly with the staff.  Since turnover is low, many of the people that worked there on opening day are still there.  And my child adores each and every employee in the place.  Each visit with The Kid is a series of heys and hugs with numerous adopted aunts and uncles.

A quick run for one or two items never takes less than 30 minutes.  But all of those beloved folks were at one time, complete strangers.  And one should never speak to scary, scary strangers.


Our last dog, Riker, was 200-pounds of pure friendliness.  Everyone within a two-mile radius loved him and looked forward to him stopping by.  He was a celebrity, way more popular than anyone else in our family.

Katey_and_Riker 2

The Kid (L) and a young, healthy Riker.

Every policeman, sheriff, school bus driver, mailman, and UPS guy that comes to our neighborhood has selfies with him.

His last illness lasted months, with him getting weaker every day.  Petey and I would put a blanket sling under his belly, and gently carry him outside to lie in the sunshine.  There was a steady stream of human and canine friends coming by to tell their sweet friend goodbye.  When I broke the news of his passing, almost every person cried.  His sweet friendly demeaner endeared him to all those “strangers”.

Every once in a while, my amiable ways can cause things to go a little sideways.One afternoon my mom, a toddler-aged Kid, and I were walking through the parking lot of a local mall to get the car and go home.  Two teenaged guys were working on a car with the hood open.  Having driven my share of less than reliable autos, I felt for them.

Having driven my share of less than reliable autos, I also keep jumper cables in the car.  I asked the young men if they needed a jump, and could I help?

They hadn’t noticed us walking up, so were so startled one of them bumped his head on the hood.  They quickly turned down my offer and walked away.Turns out the pair were attempting some grand theft auto.  My helpful gesture was unappreciated by them, but the rightful owner was pretty grateful for my meddling/helpfulness.

Growing up with a parent in the Coast Guard, our family moved every few years.  We’d land in a completely new city, not knowing a soul.

Once we had unpacked and had some downtime, I would walk around our new neighborhood and reconnoiter.  I’d talk to anybody I saw that was approximately my age.  It’s how I met almost all my friends.  My little brother was a little quiet, so when he was about five or so, I started trolling for kids for him, too.That’s how I met the Murphy’s.  Through them, I met Petey.  So, if I’d stayed home being a good girl, I would never have met the man who was destined (cursed?) to become my spouse, and then there would be no Kid.

So there.

…and I did.

Thanks for your time.