"If there’s a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things. The powers-that-be can break up any big thing they want. They can corrupt it or co-opt it from the inside, or they can attack it from the outside. But what are they going to do about 10 million little things? They break up two of them, and three more like them spring up!" - Pete Seeger, in YES! Magazine
The project: Flag down Dad after his trailer hitch failed and the load began dragging on the freeway - then stand by and help unload/load tools while he performed the roadside emergency fix.
The story: We were headed out of town for a family camping trip. I was following Dad/Grandpa who was towing a heavily laden trailer. As we crossed through a construction zone, sparks started flying from under the trailer. I pulled up alongside and saw the sway bar grinding along the pavement, the pulled up to the tow vehicle and signaled for him to pull over.
While he performed welding surgery on the trailer, the girls and I stayed out of the way, then we guarded the Jeeps while he delivered the truck and trailer home before returning to us and carrying on with the weekend's plans
Why bother? The trailer was basically ripping off the hitch. Had he not stopped, this could have been disastrous. As it was, he had all of his safety elements in place. And he may have stopped on his own - he heard the trailer dragging.
The project: Help another shopper move her heavy load from cart to trunk.
Time: Perhaps 3 minutes.
Why bother? Not that this much older woman couldn't have done it herself, but these loads of groceries from the bulk store can be tough. We were on our way in to the store. It took only a couple of minutes to offer help, give it, receive a "thanks" and smile in return, then return the cart to the storefront.
The project: Let people merge in, even when they pass that long line to "get ahead." Leave openings for big trucks. Wave others through four-way stops first. Pass kindly. In general, drive courteously.
Time: We spent about 12 hours in the car this week getting to points south, then north, then home again. All of them involved putting other drivers first.
Why bother? Makes the drives so much more relaxing, and probably safer for us all, too.
The project: Remember an acquaintance, her details and, especially, her children during a chance encounter so many years later.
Time: 10 minutes
Why bother? We were hiking in West Marin when we ran across a local. I hadn't seen her in more than a decade, so she was shocked when I remembered her, and details, and particularly her children. (What mom isn't happy to have their children remembered?
Generally, I'm terrible at remembering people's names or details. It's one or the other for me, for some reason. But people feel so great when they're remembered for the good stuff. I know this is something I need to work on, and today was the perfect example of just how much we can brighten others' days by remembering them.