People Who Need People

The Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron advises us to cultivate curiosity, to promote loving kindness in ourselves so that we extend it to others. Even to strangers, which is why I smile or say hello to the most disheveled people walking my way.

All my life I’ve tried to find common ground with those I disagree with. I’m getting better at it. Finally. We all have our stereotypes. I used to really dislike Southerners.

Walking in our hood…the homeowner and sculptress chatted with us and gave us the cucumber she had just harvested. Such nice people live in Linden Hills!

Moving from my urban apartment to Marc’s house in lovely Linden Hills, selling most of my furniture, has been instructive. I didn’t know who would show up. People fascinate me.

In comes young, friendly Architect Guy to buy my orange chair for his modern living room. We get talking, like I always do.

He’s a Minnesota native. “I used to believe in all that good humanitarian stuff but LA did me in. I lived in MacArthur Park,” he tells me. “I had a gun put to my head. There were gangs all around.”

Happy with the orange chair, he cheerfully asks, “Got anything else to sell?”

Carrying an old wooden desk out to his car together, we get deeper into conversation. “I used to be a Democrat. Now I’m a Republican.”

“Oh no, you can’t be a Trumper!” I retort.

“I’m a Republican, I said. Yeah, he’s loony but I care about inflation now. And the price of gas.”

First I try to make sense to him, calling out the mafioso, truly insane crook that Trump is.

As I help Architect Guy lift the desk into his car I realize, He’s made his decision. There’s no use trying to convince him otherwise. Let him be, Sheila.

He hands me a $100 bill from his glove compartment.

At first, Architect guy doesn’t think the desk will fit into his car. I’m optimistic. I take pride in knowing that I’m right. I keep that to myself.

I think of him when a young Hispanic couple comes to pick up my free futon. The woman, who was bigger than her scrawny guy, is wearing blue scrubs.

“Are you a doctor?” I ask. “No, I’m a med tech,” she replies. I imagine my question making her feel good. She takes charge of unscrewing the futon parts, directing Scrawny Guy’s use of his Allen wrench, and the futon’s welcome removal from my apartment. Her guy’s humongous shiny shorts, nearly falling down to expose his ass, reminded me of my stereotype of those LA gang members Architect Guy abhors.

Scrawny Guy is also wearing a backwards baseball cap, a sure sign that he was a drug dealer (what my U.S. History teacher replacement at Mt.Desert Island High School told the kids back in 1990).

“Now we’ll have a place for Teresa and Matt to sleep when they visit this weekend,” says the woman excitedly.

“Yeah, let’s put it in the living room. It’s so nice,” responds Scrawny Guy. “Thank you so much!” he turns away from his girlfriend, hurling a big smile my way.

And, there you have it.

This entry was posted in America WTF?, Fight wimpiness, Managing Minneapolis, Politics, The Rest of the World and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to People Who Need People

  1. MARC BURGETT says:

    An important typo that you should correct I think. “I’m a republican,” he said; not I said.

    I know you didn’t intend it this way, but I think your writing about the Hispanic couple would sound to some readers like you were stereotyping.

    YLM 💚

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. sydvinflynn says:

    Thank you! Very enjoyable piece, Sheila!We could just picture the various customers you had and you made them all into such a fun read.Keep up the great work!Love,S and V

  3. sheilawill says:

    Thanks, dear friends! Looking forward to seeing you in a few minutes!!

  4. Barry says:

    My wife and I live in SW Florida and are like you in terms of religion and politics. Lots of our neighbors are Republicans and even some of our co-religionist friends (yes, friends). Some are (or at least were) Trumpers. I’ve learned over the years that most of them, aside from politics, are decent folks, willing to help anyone out regardless of religion or politics. So we usually succeed in discussing neither and instead, look to those human traits that we have in common. Not always easy, but it makes for peaceful, if not pleasant, relationships.

  5. sheilawill says:

    Thank you for your comment. I have also found that Trumpers can be decent people. But they must be misinformed.

    • evenkeel22 says:

      Yes, I agree, but I should add that theses friends base much of their (past at least) support of Trump on what they see as his support of Israel. That seems to matter most to them and they ignore all the negative other stuff Trump has spouted. From time to time we voice a difference of opinion with them, but we try to keep it short and always civil and then move on to what we have in common.

      Anyway, thanks for the blog. I especially enjoyed your discussion of your recent trip to the Washington coast and the ONP which we visited just a few years ago. Found a very hip book store in Port Angeles which we hope is still there.

  6. sheilawill says:

    Aha! Misinformation about he-who-shall-not-be-named supposed support of Israel…misinformation indeed. Don’t we wish that decent Jewish people recognized his friendship with modern-day Nazis and anti-Semites? I wouldn’t be surprised if Ivanka and her crooked husband have distanced themselves from the lunatic.

    Ok, I’ve had too much coffee. Thanks for your thoughtful comments! Thanks for reading my blog!

    P.S. I don’t recall that PA bookstore. I usually buy a book at every independent I see.

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