Archives for March 2011

Monday Dare: Shark Bait

Every Monday, I’m picking from the List of Things to Do, Places to Go, Possible Acts that Help and Possible Fun to Have. It’s a list I made before The Project started, and I’m still adding to it. If you have suggestions, please feel free to throw them my way. I’m calling the list my Monday Dares, as I get overwhelmed just looking at the words “challenge” or “goal.”

This week: Practice Random Acts of Kindness. (this week’s Monday Dare was a reader suggestion by Karin in Charlotte, North Carolina. Thanks, Karin!)

A grandma once saved me from a possible pedophile. Not MY grandma, but someone else’s grandma.

The summer before my senior year in high school, I went to visit my aunt and uncle in Boston. They lived in Japan but were spending two years in Boston because my uncle was a visiting professor at one of the business schools.

On my third day, I decided I needed to venture out on my own. My relatives, assuming I had two brains cells to call my own, warned me not to talk to strangers, tucked a banana and apple into my messenger bag, and told me to be home before it got dark.

Sure, I said, no problem. I can take care of myself.

I ended up in Chinatown in the late afternoon….lost. Each street looked like the next and every time I looked up, I was either facing another Chinese sign I couldn’t read or another street sign, which did me no good since I only had the subway map and not the map of the actual city.

As I was standing on a street corner, a man in his mid-30’s approached and asked if I needed help.

Because I had a lot of street smarts, I told him everything. I told him my name, the fact that I was only visiting the city and that I needed to get home in a a few hours but, until then, nobody would be looking for me.

He offered me a ride. He said he just happened to live close to my aunt and uncle’s home in Cambridge.

“My car is right over there. Why don’t you get in?”

My response? “Sure, that sounds like a great idea.” I had already spent my last cent on a pair of platform wedges, and I doubted the Mass Transit Authority would take an apple as my subway fare.

Just then, an elderly Chinese woman grabbed my arm and said, “No, you’re not.” I hadn’t noticed her before, but she must have heard enough of the conversation to realize that I was about to get into a stranger’s car.

She pushed the man away, waved her little finger in his face, and dragged me to the entrance of a subway station. She left her grocery cart on the street as she led me down the stairs to the turnstiles. She used her monthly pass to give me access to the other side.

She took my map and counted out the exact stops, mapped out the transfer, and then told me not to talk to anyone else or get off before my designated stop.

As she walked off, she turned one last time and said, “Your parents would be sad if they knew what you were about to do.”

Cal is only a few years younger than I was that summer. I sometimes think about that grandma. Sure, it’s a possibility that nothing could have happened. But, what if?

Granny could have kept on walking, minding her business. But, she didn’t. She took the time to stop and teach me a lesson. Thanks, Granny.

Have you ever been impacted by a stranger’s kindness? Have you been the one to offer a random act of kindness to a stranger?

big pimpin’

I worked a series of shitty or low-paying jobs. Sometimes, I got lucky and they were shitty AND low-paying.I worked eight hours a day at a dry cleaner sticking my hands into pant pockets to retrieve hooker phone numbers, money, snotty tissue, weapons, hairballs, syringes and other vestiges of daily life. I straightened lotions and potions at beauty emporiums.I spent time wrapping gifts in a cold downtown warehouse, eavesdropping on the boyfriend drama of my fellow gift wrappers.

I even spent a day at home, sitting in front of the television, watching 10 straight episodes of Little House on the Prairie to see how much of a lazy underachiever I could be. Result: it was my most promising career path.

Each time I applied for a new job, along with a bevy of specific questions relating to that particular industry, the manager always asked the same three questions.

  1. Have you ever stolen anything?
  2. Do you feel like you’re a team player?
  3. Do you follow directions well?

On a callback interview for a women’s clothing store that promised a pimpin’ $5.75 an hour, the manager, Kristy, asked those same three questions again. Kristy had already asked the questions during the first interview. I think she was trying to trip me up.

What Kristy didn’t realize was that I was a hot commodity and the kitchen goods store across the hall had already offered me a WHOLE QUARTER more per hour. I had already accepted the position at the kitchen goods store, but I came to the callback interview to see if I could finagle a 50-cent raise. If things went my way, I could probably afford to start paying rent AND buy food. The future looked promising.

Kristy started with the clothing company’s mission statement. It took five minutes for her to finish her speech, but the gist of it boiled down to: Sell clothing to teen girls. Make money.

She then promised that after six months of dedicated work, I would be looking at a raise of at least 10 cents. I could see that I wasn’t going to get the 50-cent boost in initial pay I was hoping for. Kristy was long-winded, and I needed a way to end the interview fast. My stomach was growling, and I had already decided to treat myself to two 99-cent Taco Supremes from Taco Bell and a full-sized Cinnabon. The sooner I got out of there, the faster I could start my feast.

“Have you ever stolen anything?”

I paused, looked her straight in the eye and replied, “Well….I’ve never been caught.”

That did the trick. She cleared her throat, stood up and said that they would call me when they made their final hiring decision

I’d love to hear some of your job interview stories.

Flourish in Progress is FINALLY on FACEBOOK. It only took me six months to figure it out. Clearly, I’m a genius. Let’s connect! Give a girl a “Like!”

image via frankticmeerkat shop @