Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas all and sorry for my recent lack of updates. Like a lot of folks, the holidays have been hectic and have kept me running all week. Actually, our first good snow storm of the year has done worse to me than the holiday proper.

The snow started coming down pretty hard Tuesday night. I went to Jasmin's Wednesday morning to drop off a present she'd been stowing at my house for Matt. I was afraid if I waited any longer, the weather would be too bad to make the drop off before Christmas . The trip over was so hard that I decided to stay the night there. The snow kept coming hard and heavy, and I just drive a little Ford Focus, and I'm damn paranoid about black ice since my wreck last year, so I didn't want to take any chances.

I'm still debating how wise my decision was. On the one hand, I guess I didn't wreck on the way home Wednesday night. On the other, however, my car has been stuck at Jasmin's house since I got there on Tuesday. My brother with his mighty all-wheel drive picked me up Wednesday evening, and between the holiday rush and the fact that my car was buried up to the windows in snow, I hadn't been able to retrieve it until an hour and a half or so ago.

It's funny how life works sometimes though.

On Wednesday I helped Jasmin shovel snow for a couple of hours. We cleared it off her steps, off her car and we cleared a space for Matt's truck too. Then we did the same for her eighty-year old neighbor across the street and again for her seventy-year old neighbor next door. We even did it for her neighbors on the other side who are perfectly healthy and youthful and capable of doing it themselves. Jasmin was worried because they've never been good at keeping up that sort of thing and they have a little baby now, and she didn't want them to slip and fall with the kid in tow. She's a saint like that.

I actually kind of like physical work like that sometimes, and I didn't mind helping out her elderly neighbors. But I did sort of feel like a chump when the perfectly healthy fourteen-year old neighbor boy came home, saw me working on his steps and just sort of grinned at me and went inside. I tried to be positive about it and think about how it's good to be a servant and love your neighbor and all that, but I was still irritated as hell.

Well, tonight when my dad and I went to get my car from Jasmin's, his truck got stuck in the road (don't get me started on how our godforsaken city has decided not to plow/salt the roads this year). We were about to give up and call for a tow when who shows up but the perfectly-healthy-family-next-door. The dad and son managed to give my dad's truck a hard enough shove to get him moving again. Then they helped to dislodge my car from the snow too. They even helped shovel the snow that had my car blocked in. It was sort of a lesson in humility for me. The "little bastard" I spent all my time muttering over the other day helped my dad and I out of a frustrating situation tonight.

Next time I start to feel like a chump for doing something nice for somebody, I'm going to try to remember this. It's a good thing that people push me to do nice things sometimes for "little bastards" who don't deserve it. After all, much of the time, I am a little bastard who doesn't deserve any help, but some kind chump or another always seems to stop to help me out. Life is funny that way.

Christmas was very good this year. I gave some nice presents to my family and I received some nice presents from them. I realized tonight that I have a chance to do something nice for someone who very much needs it, and I learned the nice way exactly what "doing unto others" means in practice. It was a gentle lesson this time, and I'm grateful for it. Especially the gentle part because usually I'm so damn stubborn and shortsighted that it takes something really painful and jarring to make me realize anything important at all.

In any case, Merry Christmas. I hope everyone got everything they wanted, and more important, everything that they needed.