Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Little Kindness, A Long Way

Yeah, so it's been a rough week here.  We finally finished, physically anyway, this 800 mile move.  We successfully managed two households for five weeks, on budget.  The drive from Richmond, Virginia, to Memphis, Tennessee, went without a hitch, twice.

And then it fell apart.

The night we got back we assembled the furniture that the movers' delay hadn't left us time to assemble prior to the drive.  That's when I noticed that it was overly hot upstairs (I hadn't really been upstairs for any significant time up to that point).  So I found the upstairs thermostat and turned it on.

Bad move, apparently. The house's air conditioner stopped cooling the next day.  We called and got a service appointment, but the soonest that could happen was the following day.

The following day, the air conditioner guy showed up and said it was working just fine, we just needed a new (thirty dollar, ouch!) filter.  Then the refrigerator stopped working.  Then the dishwasher stopped holding water inside itself.  Then the washing machine started smelling like a dead mouse.


We replaced the filter in the A/C, and it worked for a day.  Then it stopped again.  Meanwhile the refrigerator guy came out to work on that unit.  He got it running again by defrosting the coils and ordered a replacement part, to be installed when it arrives.  The dishwasher guy ordered new gaskets.  The washing machine--well, my wife removed the dessicated remains that had apparently entered while it was being stored, ran a few cycles of bleached water through, and it seems to be just fine now.

As the long week finally ended, and I merrily departed work on Friday after a long day, I found that my tire was flat.  Somewhere along the drive it had picked up a screw and held it closely.

Wow.  Whaddaweek.  A friend of mine replied to my rather annoyed post on Facebook with "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger."  Yeah, I've used that phrase before on other people, and I agree with it in general, but right then I was a little bit tired of getting stronger.

I got up this morning, and first things first--I drove the car, on its doughnut spare, to the closest tire shop.

Sort of.

Actually, my lovely bride, sensing my overall "tired of putting up with crap"edness, did me the favor of looking up the closest tire shop.  She plugged that into her own GPS (we both call ours Bertha) and set off in the Jeep with me following.  Sure 'nuff, Bertha led us wrong.  Way wrong, in fact.  She led us up the road to where it passes over Interstate 40 and said turn right there, right in the middle of the dang overpass. 

Yeah--GPS's.  Don't trust 'em.  Luckily, we didn't.  We continued on to the next safe spot and discussed what to do.  There happened to be a Firestone across the street from there, and so we tried them.  No luck; they were booked up for the rest of the day (a fact attested to by the presence of what seemed to be the entirety of Memphis in their parking lot).

Disappointed and kind of hungry, we went to the second-closest tire shop, Gateway Tire.  Dropped the car off and drove around the corner to try a new (to us) Vietnamese restaurant. 

And that's when the day turned around.

The restaurant, Green Bamboo, was great.  Good food, good service, and all.  I left there full and happy, taste buds content to face the rest of the day.

By the time we finished lunch, the tire was repaired.  And back on the car rather than where I'd had it in the trunk, having been put on to replace the doughnut spare.  And which had also been put back where it goes.  And--get this--at no charge to me.  The guy at the counter smiled and said, "This one's on us."

Wow.  Holy crap.

Granted, a store that sells tires probably doesn't even notice the profit a tire repair brings.  I certainly could've afforded the normal repair cost, at that.  Yes, I found out from my neighbor that Gateway makes a policy of repairing a tire the first time "on them."  None of that mattered, really.  What really mattered to me was how that simple act spun my day completely around. 

How about if we all tried to do that?  If we just once a day, once a week, once a whatever, tried smiling at someone else and announcing that this time's on us?  Would that not make one heckuva difference in the world?


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