Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Pay it Forward

We are old married people. My husband leaves for work at 5:30 a.m. so he can beat traffic. My kids have to be at the bus stop no later than 7:03 a.m or I have to fight the morning suburb exodus to schlep them to school myself. Both of our boys play baseball, so we often have games or practice, one of each, or two of one on any given evening. Most people we know are on the same crazy rollercoaster ride that we are.

By 9:00 pm one or both of us are usually unconscious, as is most everyone we know. Therefore, when the phone rings at 9:37 on a Thursday evening, it means either ((FAMILY CRISIS)) or...telemarketer. I had left the cordless caller ID phone in the kitchen, so I had no idea which it was going to be when, heart racing, I picked up the crappy slimline plug in that we keep in the den.

"Can I please speak to John Doe?" (husband).

Since my husband is allergic to shopping of any kind, it is my name that has found it's way onto every junk mail, credit card solicitation and cold call list in the free world. I am so well known that even Mr. Salim Abrahim, the Secretary General of Auditing and Monetary Recovery for the Nigerian Consulate has procured my email address, presumably from consumer list sharing with Harriet Carter and Yankee Candle.

Having once been a telemarketer, I know that is far kinder to stop them before they have gone through their entire spiel, which wastes precious minutes that could be spent dialing another, perhaps more receptive sucker, and which also gives false hope to people who are often paid a miserly wage with "incentive" pay based on sales volume. So normally I stop them right after they mangle my last name with a polite but firm "Not interested." Sometimes, if it's inexcusably late, I will suggest that they rethink their calling hours. It's unusual for a telemarketer to ask for him, so I wasn't entirely certain that it was a sales call. Warily, I asked,

"May I say who is calling, please?"

"Yes, ummmm, I'm sorry to call so late, and I hesitated to call at this hour...."

"Is there something I can help you with?" I asked impatiently.

"I know you probably think I'm a telemarketer, that would be my first thought...but I found your batting stick at the ballpark...and I understand they're fairly expensive."

Oh. My. God.

That stupid thing cost more than every item of clothing I had on put together, including my nice-ish bra and non Payless shoes. When we went to Sports Conglomerate to buy one, I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the price. Husband would never entrust such a costly piece of equipment to anyone else unless he had no other choice, especially since I threatened to make him brown bag it for the next 6 months to make up for the expenditure. But I had taken Diminutive One to practice that night because husband was down with a nasty cold. Before I left he implored me not to lose the batting stick.

I lost the batting stick.

Luckily, I had no idea I had lost the batting stick or I would have been in a panic.

"It was leaning against the dugout when I went out for my walk, and I didn't pick it up because I thought surely someone would be back for it. But it was still there on the way home, so I thought I would just check and see if it had a name on it."

Oh, it had a name on it alright. First and last, our snail mail address, his email address, our home phone number, husband's work and cell phone numbers, PLUS the name of our home field, just in case he was in a coma and couldn't be reached by any of those means. As if someone would wander aimlessly around the ballpark with a six foot long yellow and black stick with bulbous ends that make it look suspiciously like some kind of freakadelic sex toy if you really think about it, casually inquiring after it's owner.

"So anyway, like I said, I hesitated to call this late, but I thought you might want to know that someone had found it."

I thanked her profusely for her trouble and hung up.

When I got off the phone, it occurred to me that I was inordinately surprised and touched by a simple act of good will. If I had realized it was missing, I would have assumed it was never to be seen again, and that someone had themselves a nice, fairly new batting stick. The fact that I expect dishonesty suddenly made me feel very jaded and disconsolate and I was once again reminded how much big city living has changed my outlook on things.

BUT...despite all that, I had a nice little warm fuzzy from being on the recieving end of some good old fashioned nice and that reminded me how much even a small kindness can make a difference to someone.

Since I live on the other side of town, a friend of mine who lives in her neighborhood picked it up and brought it to the game Friday night. I never got to thank her in person. So today I sent her one of my prettiest and most elegant thank you cards. My sister gave them to me for Christmas one year when she worked at a pretentious little stationary "boutique". I dole them out very sparingly. But I was happy to send her one. I hope it makes her feel warm and fuzzy too.

So thank you stranger who went out of her way to save me some money and a great big headache (the one I would have gotten listening to husband harangue me about losing it).

I resolve to pay it forward at my next opportunity.


  • At 9:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It's stuff like that that gives me hope about the world.

  • At 11:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yes yes yes.

    Back in my old neighborhood in NJ, my wallet was stolen. Out of my purse. At my daughter's day care. At the same time that my friend's wallet was stolen. I was devastated.

    Until a few weeks later, I dropped my NEW wallet. In the same area. And I got a call from a man who said he thought he had found my wallet.

    Everything was intact. I was absolutely amazed - all I had hoped for was that I didn't have to replace my driver's license again. I wrote a gracious thank you note, also on my best stationery, and enclosed a token of my appreciation.

    Pay it forward. You said it, sister. I'm glad you got your batting stick back.

  • At 12:09 AM, Blogger Mom101 said…

    I think more than the batting stick, you get a renewed sense of confidence in the goodness of the world. That's far more valuable.

    I've returned more than my share of cell phones left in coffee shops, wallet left in cabs, day planners left in phone booths. It will come back to me somehow; or maybe it already has in the fact that my life ain't all that bad.

  • At 7:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you as well to the wonderful stranger who wasn't afraid to do the right thing.

    Thank you BA for sharing this heartwarming story.

  • At 7:24 AM, Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said…

    Like you, I expect that when I lose something in a public place I will never see it again. Its nice to hear a good story of someone returning something that belongs to someone else instead of keeping it for a change. Adults need to remember that finders-keepers doesn't really apply to most situations.
    Glad your son got his batting stick back.

    Did your husband ever find out?

  • At 8:48 AM, Blogger Sandra said…

    Now THAT is a good story. She'll love the thank you card and keep doing kind things like she did for you.

    The whole "Pay it forward" and "random acts of kindness" notions are so underrated.

  • At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That really makes you feel good about people, doesn't it? We spend so much time being paranoid about people taking things and ulterior motives that when someone does something completely kind and unselfish...It feels good - and definitely makes us feel like we should pay it forward - As a practice, not just once.

  • At 1:20 PM, Blogger Antique Mommy said…

    I love stories like that. My good friend just lost her debit card at the Lowe's in Abilene which is a good ways from here and someone found it and mailed it back. Like you, she sent him a proper note of appreciation. I hate it when you do something nice like that and get no thanks whatsoever.

  • At 1:46 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    All these stories are making me happy. Keep 'em coming please.

    Ms. Chicky: Husband was sitting right next to me when phone rang, so, yes, he found out. Don't think he didn't razz me about it. :?)

    Mom101: You're so right. It was about so much more than a batting stick.

  • At 8:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Do we not ever think that the ringing phone is going to be exciting anymore? Most of my friends let most everything go to the answering machine and only pay attention to cell phones.

  • At 3:56 PM, Blogger Overwhelmed! said…

    I love when these things happen!

    I lost my wallet once in college, during a bar crawl with friends.

    I didn't even realize it was missing (probably due to the fact that I was in bed nursing a hangover) until I got a call from a stranger letting me know he had it. We met and he returned it. I was so very thankful and amazed!

  • At 6:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What a lovely story...and...WHEW!


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