A Total Eclipse Of The Heart-Strings

, , , , , | Hopeless | September 12, 2017

The day of the 2017 Solar Eclipse, some friends and I carpooled out to our college for a viewing event. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, they had run out of eclipse-viewing glasses. While there were volunteers walking around offering to let people borrow theirs for a few seconds each, I was still a bit upset, because I was hoping to get some as a keepsake for the event.

As I was informing my friends of this setback, a young girl, probably no older than ten, came up and tried to hand me her glasses, having overheard. I tried to decline, but she insisted, saying that she and her two companions could take turns with what they had. The companions didn’t seem bothered at all by the notion of sharing theirs. After a couple rounds of this, I relented and took them, thanking her repeatedly.

The eclipse was unforgettable, but her kind gesture was even more so.

The Best People To Be The Best Person With

, , , , , | Hopeless | September 10, 2017

My friend of 13 years was getting married. A few months before his wedding I came out as non-binary. I was my friend’s “best person,” and, knowing that weddings are very gendered, I told him and his fiancée that it was okay, I could still act “like a girl” for his events and their big day, and be referred to as such.

They said that it may not be necessary to do that, and they would do what they could so everyone, including me, would be happy and have a good time.

First, my friend asked which party I wanted to attend: the bachelor or bachelorette. He also listed me in the program and referred to me by the gender-neutral “best person” honorific, and his fiancée sent the tuxedo rental place information so they could get me a custom suit.

Finally, I sat down at the wedding dinner and saw that my place card said, “Mx.,” a neutral alternative to “Mr”. or “Ms.”!

I am still not out to everyone, due to family and work concerns, so being recognized in these ways, especially on their day, nearly made me cry.

Catching All The Classics

, , , , , | Hopeless | September 8, 2017

(A couple with a five- or six-year-old daughter is browsing in my bookstore. After checking out the children’s books for a bit, the girl comes up to my desk.)

Girl: “I like your music. It’s catchy.”

(This may have been the first time the Beethoven String Quartets were described as “catchy”, but you have great taste, little girl!)

Surfing Through Some Wonderful Encounters

, , , , , | Hopeless | September 6, 2017

Years ago, my dad and brother went to Mexico. One day, they were in the nearest town for supplies when my dad ran into a woman in the grocery store who gave him a recommendation on mango juice. They chatted for a bit, then said their goodbyes. Later, they were in the parking lot, and the woman walked by. She noticed his license plate, and they discovered that they were from the same area of islands in Canada, though she had been living in Mexico for several years. So they exchanged contact information, and my family returned to camp.

A couple weeks later, my brother was surfing on his short-board. During a wipeout, his board went between his legs, and the fin sliced his calf rather deeply. Someone in camp bandaged his leg, while another fetched Dad from out in the water. Dad threw his mattress into the back of the truck, loaded up my brother, and drove to Guerrero Negro as fast as he could (which couldn’t have been at all pleasant for my brother, considering it’s a one- to two-hour trip, 30 minutes of which on a very bumpy dirt road).

Eventually they reached town and got him to a doctor, at which point Dad called the woman he’d met at the store to help him with translating. When she arrived, all the work had been done, and Dad wasn’t sure what to do about payment. He had her ask about it, and according to her, the doctor laughed and asked, “We charge for this?”

Afterwards, my dad returned to camp while my brother stayed with the woman and her family, since it seemed cruel to have him lying on the beach, watching everyone else in the water, doing what he couldn’t. He was with them for a month, and made good friends with the daughter, who was about our age.

Dad stayed in touch with them over the years, and a decade later, I went down with him and got to meet them. When I mentioned the story to the daughter, she was really surprised about how it happened. Apparently, my brother told her he was attacked by a shark, and she believed it right up until I told her otherwise.

Art Always Gets A Pass

, , , | Hopeless | September 4, 2017

(It is about seven pm and I have just walked into a museum in NYC that has my favorite painting in it. I did not know this previously, and found out after spending the day with my parents at another museum. We are tired, weary, and a tad short on funds. I approach the ticket desk to see how much it will be for one student and two seniors to enter.)

Employee: “Senior tickets are $17 each and students are $12.”

Me: *sullenly turns to my parents, who are sitting down*

Mom: “You go, we will sit here.”

Me: *turns to employee* “One student, please.”

Employee: *accepts my payment and looks thoughtful* “You know, I get free passes that I don’t use. Why don’t you all go?” *hands me three tickets*

Me: *tearfully and excitedly* “Thank you so much!”

(This was about five years ago, but I’ve never forgotten the act of kindness. I was able to see that painting with my family and take a photo with it. We really enjoyed the museum, all thanks to a kind employee!)

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