Sunday, March 21, 2010

 

I Get By With a Little Help

The last day of the school year. Mina and I are rushing to the station. It is Saturday, so the train schedule is different and I am afraid she is going to miss her train. We walk up to the gates. "Mommy, I don't have my train pass. . . ." I was just walking her to the station, so I didn't have my purse. "I don't have any money!" I say at a volume approaching a shout. I turn and find a man who lives up the street from us, and just happens to be fluent in English, pulling a 1000 yen note (about $10) from his wallet and I haven't even asked him to help us. I don't even know this man's name. I know where he lives, I know his dog's name, I think he works with the US military, I remember the first time he asked me, "How's it goin'?" like a native, but I don't really know him. Here he is, without hesitation, saving my butt. After Mina returned from school, we made a batch of chocolate chip oatmeal craisin cookies for him and I didn't even have to write the thank you note in Japanese.

This situation reminded me of some ideas I had written down in a notebook and came across the other day. I will share one of those posts with you now. It is about four years old, yet falls under the exact same heading . . . I Get By With a Little Help.

A rainy day. Delayed trains. The three train loads of people waiting on the platform are going to cram onto the already crowded approaching train and we are going to be amongst them. "You'd better collapse the stroller," one mother says and we all start in at once to free Sam from his belt, take off the rain cover, grab the umbrellas hanging from the back, juggle my bags around (because as if I weren't already carrying enough, I've decided to mail some books out today) and fold up the stroller just as the train doors open. I've got Sam, another mother takes the stroller, yet another has my bags and a third takes Mina by the hand. Mind you, they all have their own daughters to look after, but I am the only one with a younger sibling on hand, so they have all rushed to my aid, and thank goodness. As the train speeds us to the next stop (where the majority of passengers will get off and we will be able to breathe again), I notice that someone has placed a shower cap (a shower cap?!?!?!?!) over the wheels of the stroller to prevent them from getting anyone dirty. I resign myself to the fact that I will never feel like I have my act together around these women and thank my lucky stars they are my friends.

Comments:
I wonder if this is an example of the influence of an island nation on its people - they all help each other out? What do you think. Remarkable . . . I wish people were as courteous here.
 
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