‘the kindness of strangers’

I’ve been reminded recently of Blanche DuBois’ comment in “Streetcar Named Desire”:   ” I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”  Actually, I have not.  I’ve been pretty independent; never asking grocery clerks to help me to the car, finding directions on the GPS, etc.  However, this past weekend in Portland I found myself depending on a strangers kindness more than once.  First, while I was waiting at the airport parking lot for the shuttle, the man nearby encouraged me that I had plenty of time to make my flight. Then, boarding the plane ( 3 x 3, with a very skinny aisle and not much storage) I had to have help from a tall friendly stranger getting my luggage stowed in the space above my seat; then, at the rental car lot, I had to ask for help in directions and even in starting the car!  Possibly I should have even stopped to ask for more help in driving across Portland, as none of the 11 bridges seemed to work for me to cross to Beaverton, but I did stop the car and look at maps several times, and after 2-plus hours finally made it across town.

My friend lives in Beaverton, a couple of miles from my hotel, so I actually did no driving while visiting her, and had an enjoyable weekend experiencing a Greek food and culture festival at her church. She even drove to the nearby zoo ( where we had to get directions from strangers on where the shuttle stopped, and how to get back out to it later)..I saw the cutest little porcupine ( I think from Africa) but somehow was not able to get a photo of it, even though the trainer got it to walk to the edge of the hollow log , enticed by treats.

On Monday my trip home went more smoothly in Portland and I didn’t hesitate to again ask for help with that luggage!  But I would have lost my beige sweater if a kind lady had not pointed out that it dropped between the seats at the gate area.

I think this counting on strangers may have to be a permanent thing with me, there were so many things I just left to Roger’s guidance. I  find even with kind strangers in my midst, I have to be more thoughtful of what I’m doing each step of the way, and be ever alert —somehow, I don’t quite want to turn into Blanche!

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What’s done is done, but learning……

Lately I’ve ben aware of a deep regret regarding Roger’s death and the commemoration of it.

The regret is that I did not sit down with someone who was thinking clearly, and have them go over with me Roger’s lists of contacts were who might not know about his illness and death. Just recently I had a call from an old friend of Roger’s who knew nothing about his death and was looking forward to coming on a visit.  I met with him and his family while they were in the bay area, but I know he came with great sorrow, and of course all the memories of Roger that he had and naturally shared, also were painful to me.

With all our planning for the memorial services and the fountain and plaque we placed at church, I still had not contacted this person. And unfortunately, this was not the only one.

So, what can I learn from this?  As I have no children, it is up to me to have clear records of those I want notified of my death, in addition to the regular business notifications.  I need to let a couple of people know where this information is kept, and hopefully keep it up to date.

We all have so many circles of friendships;  family members or  close friends may not know all persons who move in these circles.  If you are reading this, and have not done so already, put some kind of list together and include it in material accessible to those who need to know         ( immediate family, whoever has power of atty for finances, etc. ) And leave some instructions about your memorial service as well.  Let’s leave this world with our friends knowing they were valued and included. So what’s done is done, and I hope those who were inadvertently ‘not notified’ will eventually forgive me.

If at the end, some do not receive an official notification of my passing,  may I say now I have appreciated each person who has crossed my path and been part of my life.  I’ve been blessed.