Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Peripherally Yours

*Quick note...if you are looking for funny....it isn't here today...  Funny will return tomorrow....*

Do you ever think about all the lives that have touched you over the days, weeks, years of your life?    Or...even, the lives that you have touched?  Even in the most peripheral fashion?  If you think about it, the number can be staggering.

There are commercials on TV, and while, at the moment, I am at a loss to remember what company is represented by them they always make me stop to watch.  They show scenes of an every day moment where someone witnesses an act of kindness between two strangers.  For instance, a woman may watch a man pick up something that an elderly woman dropped and hand it back to her.  She then takes that moment of kindness she witnessed and performs an act of kindness by opening a door for someone who's hands are entirely too full.  That person that had the armload of stuff, then performs another act of kindness for someone else that they encounter in a day.  And so the commercial goes.

While these are all very peripheral moments in a life, they are something that in one way or another affects your life or the life of others; either in performing the act of kindness, being the one who is the recipient, or just being a witness to an act of kindness in progress.

Do you ever wonder how holding the door open for someone may have made a difference?  How handing a dollar bill to the guy on the street corner might have helped to put food in his stomach instead of drugs or alcohol?  Or how just smiling at another person as you interact with them might help to lighten their level of stress at the moment?

I know that I don't.  At least not often.  I, like so many other people, get wrapped up in my own mind, my own stress, my own thought process, my own cynicism, skepticism, or pessimism, my own need to get to my next errand so that I can get back to work....my own life.

However, within the last couple of weeks I have started to kind of rethink how peripherally I've been touched by others or how I might have made a difference to someone's day if only for the couple of minutes that I interact with them.

In last Tuesday's post I made a quick mention about the fact that Small Town, America had a big chink delivered to it's armour.

The town that listed as my address on all of my bills is small.  On the top end the post office probably serves all of 2000 people.  Probably less.  Most of whom don't probably live in the city proper.  It has 1 grocery store, one stop light, more churches than I have fingers and toes, 2 mechanics, 3 gas stations, etc...  To get from one end of town to the other takes not more than a couple of minutes.  The cops are few and far between for our little podunk town and pretty much the highlight of their day or night is to catch a speeder, chase congregating teenagers out of business parking lots, and, if they are lucky and excitement is in abundance, take out the most current meth lab. 

However, while the husband him and I visit town frequently for one thing or another, we don't have many friends there (or at least I don't).  People that we see from time to time in one business or another.  We recognize each other to say hi, but peripherally is about as well as I know any of them.

Within the last couple of weeks tragedy struck, lives snapped, and a husband shot his wife in the gas station that they owned together.  The one of the 3 that we frequented the most.  It was closing time, he was in the store, a customer tried to come in before closing and he waved the guy away with the gun.  The wife, tried to run out the front door.  He shot.  Killed her.

The husband him and I had to go into town the night it happened.  While the gas station where the murder occurred is the one that we went to most often, we knew it would be closed.  So we headed into town to go to the one across the street.  However, the parking lot of the gas station was lit up like the 4th of July.  In fact, I'd be willing to bet every single one of our small town po-po was on scene.  As humans frequently do, there were people all over in the parking lots across the street, people standing in groups, people sitting at the gas station that we were headed to for our errand.  Humanity en masse...

Being what gas stations are, we figured that there had been a robbery.  As we were checking out though we asked what was going on.  Expecting that robbery would be the answer.  Instead we were informed that people we knew were involved in something that just doesn't happen often in Small Town, America.  Murder.

They have 2 daughters.  They have grandbabies.  He killed her.  Jumped in his truck and ran like the wind, only to be found in Colorado and hauled back a week later.

The shock of the incident settled over the whole town like the sticky edges of a nightmare.  It seemed so bizarre.  Surreal.  Crime scene tape draped around the store.  Waving in the wind like a bright yellow flashing light that screams, "Hey!  LOOOK!"  And you do.  You can't not. 

Small towns what they are...the grapevine went ape-shit.  Gossip all over on where he was, why he did it.  Gossip about the girls, gossip about the mother.  Nothing is sacred in a small town.  Nothing goes under the radar.  Nothing can be left alone.  Gossip all but flooded the roadways through town.  Human nature at one of it's most disgusting. 

Looking back at my interactions with him.  He was always nice enough, but he wasn't the happy type.  He walked with a cane, and hobbled about behind the back counter frequently.  Clearly he wasn't comfortable, but he was always nice to me.  He didn't smile or laugh much with anyone that I could see, but it was kind of an unspoken mission of mine to make him smile when I was in there.  I'd crack a joke, or just catch his eye long enough that he would smile back.  I had always guessed that his unhappiness had to do with his physical condition.  Maybe he was in pain.  I didn't know.  I just knew that I wanted to make his life better...even just by a little bit.

My interactions with her were fewer.  She was nicer to those she knew, and never overly friendly with me.  She was one of those people that you could feel that she could be a raging bitch if you crossed her.  However, she and I never said a cross word, we just didn't interact much.

One of the daughters worked there from time to time.  She was nicer than her mother.  Happier than her father.  And had a kid that you could pinch the cheeks off of.  Her sister I saw less than a handful of times.

Many times over the course of the last couple of weeks I've tried to wrap my mind around what their daughters, the living, breathing proof that 2 people, once, loved each other, are going through.  I can't do it.  It boggles. 

I've thought of him frequently, and wondered why.  Why was murder the only option?  Why wasn't divorce good enough?  What could she have possibly ever done or said that could have warranted a mental snap worthy of murder?

I can't even bring myself to try to consider how she was feeling in the last moments before he shot her.  Just grazing the edges of thoughts like that cause my heart to break.

I guess there are just some things about the human mentality, the human conception, the human thought process that I will just never get.

Now, peripherally I know someone that's been murdered.  By someone that in a peripheral way I tried to help to have a better day.

Boggles...truly boggles.  *shakes head sadly*

Peripherally yours,

Jewell  xo

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