This afternoon, using the lock box key, my real estate agent popped into my house to grab the flyers and shoe covers she'd left for our showings a few weeks prior. After all, my wife and I didn't need them anymore since we'd accepted an offer. Our three cats greeted the agent as she entered. Our three cats and the distinct sulfuric odor of a gas leak. After thoughtfully opening windows, the agent called me to inform of the discovery. I immediately called DTE and let them know my wife would be home within a half hour to let the worker in (I was stuck at work).
Fifteen minutes later, my phone rang. "Hello! It's the DTE Guy," a cheerful voice supplied. I greeted him but quickly explained my wife wouldn't be there for another 15 minutes, which is what I explicitly explained to the operator when I called. The DTE Guy, continuing in his cheerful voice, "Well, when it comes to gas leaks, we don't like to schedule these things. We like to take care of them right away. But if you want me to wait while the house explodes, I can-"
I cut him off, "I don't appreciate you condescending to me."
He continued, like me snapping at him didn't faze him. "Are you the owner of the home?" I confirmed I was. "I see a "for sale" sign on the front lawn. Is there, by chance, a lock box with a key inside?"
What a brilliant, condescending man! I gave him the code, he retrieved the key, and I stayed on the line, explaining what may have caused the leak. There had been some work done on the furnace a few days prior, and something may had been knocked loose. He walked me through what he was seeing. When he wanted to mark the location of the leak but didn't have anything to do it with, I led him to a drawer full of rubber bands and pens.
Somewhere along the way, the chatter went from stilted to easy, and we ended up laughing with each other. Suddenly, I felt guilty. "I'm sorry for snapping at you earlier. I'm just really frustrated with everything," I told him.
And in the most surprising turn of events, the DTE Guy also apologized. "I'm sorry for snapping, too. Gas leaks are serious, and I take them seriously. I didn't mean to gripe at you."
When he heard my wife come through the door, we wrapped up the conversation, so he could explain to her where the leak was. But he made sure to tell me not to hesitate to call him if I had any questions.
Listen, DTE Guy, I'm sorry I didn't get your name. I really should've asked. Especially since we ended up having a pretty damn good conversation and because you made sure my wife and I were safe. And even though you'll always be "Hello! It's the DTE Guy" to me, just know I appreciated your cheerfulness, your dedication, your humility, and your kindness. I appreciate you.
I was stopped at a red light, on my way to work. It wasn't raining, but it was in between rain. Like it could open up at any time and swallow the intersection whole. I was perfectly protected from any downpour that may occur, but not protected whatsoever from what I was about to witness.
Catty-corner from me, in front of a Walgreens, a tall black man crossed the street in this awkward half-run. He was unable to fully sprint because of what he was holding on to: three little boys, presumably his sons, or maybe nephews? He held the hand of a boy on each side of him, and then they branched off on the left, with that boy holding the hand of the third boy. And they ran together in a straight, synchronized line.
Adding to the wholesomeness of the scene, the boys were dressed in bright jackets of red, blue, and green, and I couldn't help but think fondly of Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
Thank you, perfect little family. You made my morning, and your togetherness brings joy to this world.
I saw you.
I saw you scooch.
We were in that tiny bathroom, two stalls, and we both just happened to come out at the same time, but you beat me to the sink. And rather than have me stand there, awkwardly, pretending to admire the bathroom art, while you finished your hygiene routine, I saw you move just the tiniest bit. It was almost imperceptible. But you scooched, allowing me a space to sidle up, and do things efficiently.
I appreciate efficiency.
And I appreciate you, Sink Goddess.
You probably thought this was a skosh of kindness, but I interpreted it as a sky full of tenderness. It really touched me, and although I declined your offer with a, "Thank you, but I don't mind waiting," and then we joked about something I can't remember, I still think about that moment. I still think about you, Sink Goddess.
*How often do we get to be present with one another like that? How often do we reach out to strangers? Or even those we don't consider strangers, but maybe who still are, in some aspects? It's amazing the things we walk by, unseen/untouched/unvoiced, every day.
Dear Woman Who Pushed the Busker's Bucket Under His Butt When He Was Engrossed in a Detroit Jam Session
I can still visualize the moment clearly. Not in the sort of detail where I can tell you what anyone was wearing, or what aromas filled the night air. I'm not even sure why my wife and I were at the Little Caesars Arena, but I think it was for Cirque du Soleil: Crystal, a show we had received free tickets for from my work (amazing show, by the way). What I remember clearly is pausing for a moment to listen to a man play passionately on his make-shift drum set in the square outside of the arena. The set was created from a few 5 gallon buckets, and an extra bucket was poised under the musician, for a seat, even though he hovered above it.
As he played, the beat ran through me like a child doing hand springs. I was one of many mesmerized spectators.
After a minute or two, this woman, cool as can be, and almost fluidly, came up behind the man, and knocked his seat over about six inches, so that it was in line with the musician's bottom. Previously, and what I hadn't noticed until then was, it had been askew, and if he had sat down, he would have missed, and fallen. The woman kept on walking. No thanks necessary. No acknowledgment required. She saved a human being, and just jogged on. Wow.
My eyes filled with tears, and my whole body fleshed out in goosebumps. I already loved the man for his passion, and bringing art and joy to the world. I loved him for making my body move, and for letting me pause in my busyness for once, and just be. But in that moment, I genuinely loved that woman too. And, I guess, because I can't stop thinking about it, I can't stop loving her. It was this instant of pure humanity and grace, and I had the honor to witness it.
I just wanted to say thank you for being beautiful.