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Open thread * I am a proud American

Today I experienced a capitalist venture’s delicate dance between offering top-rate customer service and making a profit. I also experienced government systems’ non-apologetic mistreatment of its customers and its prioritization of bureaucracy’s blind rules over common sense coupled with true customer service. But I was saved by strangers, every-day Americans, who went above and beyond to cover for the failings of the government systems.

Today a breathtakingly handsome, shirtless young man scooped me up in his arms, and carried me to safety.

His chivalrous act was supposed to be told at the end of the post, but I can’t wait to share it that long. I don’t know his name. That’s right. He was a complete stranger. But I was in a dangerous predicament trying to walk uphill, very likely to fall, out of breath because I couldn’t carry my oxygen as well as my purse, my heart was pounding too fast, my 90-degree bent forward posture and inability to lift my head made it impossible so see where I was going, and I don’t have a cell phone nor was there any building within blocks. So I stuck out my thumb.

Many people avoided looking at me, and went by, even though the road exists solely to take people to/fro the large complex in which I live. The two people in the Jeep passed me by, and I sighed. But they apparently circled back because I could make out the Jeep again. I explained that I lived there too and briefly described my physical issues (rather evident anyway).

Then, I had to hand my purse to his girlfriend, another complete stranger, so that I could wrap my arms around the handsome stranger’s neck and shoulders as he lifted me off the ground and up, up, up into his Jeep. Yes, I had tried mightily myself, but I can’t lift my legs that high. I’d already told them to go on their way, insistently (!), and thanked them for trying. But … … they were determined not to leave me. That’s when his girlfriend offered to have him pick me up in his arms and place me in the front passenger seat while she held my purse, after which he grabbed the seatbelt and secured me — which was good since I was quite light-headed and shaking.

To think that a government worker could have saved me from being stranded, … but we’ll leave that part of the story for the end, when I’m able to finish. I need a break. There’s more I’ve already written, so I’ll leave that part below, then come back and add the missing section that explains how I got stranded.

This morning, I left home and drove the 15 miles, to drop my car off at the only mechanic I’ve ever allowed to touch it. A beautiful woman who can still turn eyes and a former race car driver. Along with her steadfast husband and son, they have survived. They used to have a gas station in an ideal location and were the only station to offer full service. But she could not find teenagers or young adults who she could rely on to provide that service to her satisfaction. Rather than waste more years having to babysit kids who couldn’t follow simple directions, they closed the station and moved their repair service to a place with larger bays. She has always driven me home, but not since I moved 15 miles away since, it’s true, it takes a minimum 90 minutes to make the round trip. She did save me Bus No. 1 by driving me to the town center’s bus depot.

Lucky me! I got there five minutes before the #40 bus that’d take me 13.5 miles. But there was no bus. The time came and went. No #40 bus showed up. Other riders and I were confused. We knew we had to wait an HOUR for the next bus. We were in front of the correct sign for #40 but the only bus, locked up with lights flashing, was two signs south of us, and we couldn’t see its number. A young surfer type, at my request, let me hold onto him. I had no choice but to trust him.

We asked and asked every rider, but they were confused too. Finally, a bus employee said the bus, which had NO number, was the one to get on. That didn’t ease my anxiety because I’ve been told too many times in my life, by government employees, that their instructions were correct but weren’t.

Since the surfer kid was a restless type, I also befriended an exceptionally tastefully dressed adult man who is black. No surfer gear had he. His hair was perfectly cut, his well-made white t-shirt was spotless, his fashionable shoes looked brand new. He was coming to my town to find work. I got bubbly with excitement, telling him where to go.

I only mention his being black because it is so rare to see a black person in these parts that they stand out, and it’s impossible not to look at them.

It’s as if I’ve gone back in time to my childhood. My parents heard rumors that a black man lived up in the hills of our valley and came to town once a month to buy groceries. We never saw him but were overcome with curiosity. This area is almost like that, except that there are many Hispanics, Native Americans, and Indians (who sadly had a rough time after 9/11 because some local ignoramuses assumed they were A-rabs.

  • Denise Betters

    ??

  • EllenD818

    Glad your story has a happy ending, Bronwyn. 
    I think I must be bigger than you, because I can’t imagine anyone carrying me. My husband, who is a couple of inches shorter, just managed it for a few minutes – enough to drop me over the marriage threshold.

    Sounds like there are nice people up there. Family is making noises about moving there – tech jobs and all that – but right now we’re in a wait-and-see mode.
    Perhaps you can share more daily experiences and it’ll seem more familiar to me.

  • beachnan

    Bronwyn, I am glad you made it home safe and sound.  As we age, it is difficult to accept that we are no longer able to do the things we once did so easily.  It’s nice to know that there are still good people out there who see someone in need and respond accordingly.  

  • TriciaX

    I’ve experienced the kindness of starngers on occasion as well.  It restores faith in humans.  So, I try to be one of them when I get a chnace.  Pay it forward….

  • Retired_from_SPOnaj

    A powerful thing when our fundamental humanity kicks in and causes us to ignore racial distinctions.  Would that it happened more often. 

  • HELENK2

    one of the sad things about this story is they do not seem to see anything wrong with it

    http://hotair.com/archives/2012/05/15/video-msnbc-panel-agrees-media-will-be-in-the-bag-for-obama-at-the-debates/

    msnbc panel agrees media will be in the bag for obama at the debates

  • Anthony_1

    More Open Thread loose ends:

    the Breck Boy is getting hammered in court, but nobody is covering it.

    The Daily Beast, even though burying the story, is at least saying something about the jerk off who colluded with Obama to sandbag Hillary in ’08

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/05/14/john-edwards-s-defense-begins-with-a-rocky-start.html

  • KenoshaMarge

    Excellent piece by one of my favorite writers:

    A Censored Race War
    by Thomas Sowell
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/05/15/a_censored_race_war_114150.html

    • MG6

      A lot of us people of color feel the same.  It is the race hustlers that love to create hatred in order to keep their finances going.

      • KenoshaMarge

        Thomas Sowell makes Sharpton – Jackson et all look like the cheap shysters they are.

        Thomas Sowell is further right than I am and I don’t always agree with his pov on issues. But I always respect his discourse.

  • MG6

    Open thread?

    How about this Iranian rapper:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/14/iranian-rapper-death-threat-fatwa

    Check his video in youtube.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rDXhjIN030

    The lyrics are written out under the video. Or see his video….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnyYVJFwRCA&feature=related

  • KenoshaMarge

    As this is also an open thread…

    Krauthammer On Drones Flying In US: “Stop It Here, Stop It Now”

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2….top_it_now.html

  • Flop_Flipper

    I’m totally impressed that you stuck out your thumb. Takes guts these days. And so happy that you arrived safely. Putting your fate in the hands of strangers is a leap of faith best ventured rarely.

    • BronwynsHarbor

      Thank you, FF.  I’ve lived a full life. And these days I am more terrified of living too long than being murdered for the paltry sum in my purse. Besides, I’ve been so damn lucky. I should have died so many times, have escaped kidnapping (true, as wild as it sounds), survived catastrophes, somehow found it within myself to get out of Stockholm-syndrome situations, and lived beyond having my spirit broken, just as is done senselessly to horses, dogs, cats and more — hence my unending fury with anyone who treats any animal as less than human.  

      Worse than all of those, I’ve lived through unending boredom in jobs that sucked out all of my creativity, self-esteem, and interest in anything. Thank you entirely to Larry Johnson, I am slowly rediscovering myself. There’s a secret about Larry that probably only his wonderful wife and a few relatives, and just a few friends know. I won’t share it, and trust no one hazards guesses.  It is just like the secret word I was entrusted to never reveal by those who inducted me into Rainbow Girls (you can laugh :) :)). Somehow I can’t to this day tell it to anyone. Larry’s secret is so like that secret word — it’s uncanny. If I could, I’d tell him.

      BTW! You are a big reason that I share more these days in the comments section.  You invariably teach me something new, and you make me laugh too. Just a few months ago, for one “sin,” I was shunned by most of NQ’s readers. It was so stupid, all of it.  Including that it got to me.

      BUT it was a great lesson in why it is so very important to not ass-u-me too much, too quickly about people. I’ve been guilty, so guilty, too many times on this blog of bashing people, very personally.  Still do it, hopefully less. 

      Greg Gutfeld’s latest outlawed phrase is “teachable moment.” So I won’t use that phrase. Greg was surely the rowdy wise man who taught baby Jesus that acting out is great, and to never forget that.  Poor Mary.  He must have been a handful when he was a toddler.  I bet you were too, FF.

      • Flop_Flipper

        It was sometime in the fall of 1975 that I survived an attempted kidnapping. I was hitchhiking home from college when a guy picked me up. I told him where I was going (the next exit) and he said: No, you’re not. He attempted to auto lock his doors but I managed to reach into the backseat, grab my briefcase and jump out the moving car. I got pretty scraped up and the guy got away. Another driver called the police and I made it home safely.

        The song Problem Child by AC/DC is my theme song.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=GbauGScwEiU#!

  • KenoshaMarge

    I am so glad that those two young people were there not only to help you, but to help restore your faith in human nature.

    Particularly “young” human nature.

    As for all those who passed by, Karma can be a bitch.

  • HELENK2

    the kindness of strangers is a very unexpected, wonderful thing that can renew the faith in mankind. sometimes a helping hand can change a life.
    I am glad that you found the kindness of  two strangers today.

  • Dbb3

    In London the joke is the bus you want comes in threes or not at all.  But driving your own car is not really a practical option.  But surely not where you live – somewhere around Puget Sound, right?  Couldn’t your mechanic arrange a loaner at some kind of knockdown price?

    • BronwynsHarbor

      I lost my reply to you. The gist is that it’s been a long time since I lived near water, particularly Puget Sound due to its severe pollution. 

      Many great people have tried to save Puget Sound. Right now, we need 60+ Magnusons for EVERYTHING – he’d unite enemies, no matter what divided them.

      However, Magnuson learned that no good deed goes unpunished. Horrified by news of babies and children burned to death, he united most of the Senate to step over the intense pressure of manufacturers, retailers and unions, and vote to require flame-retardant fabric for sleep wear.

      Magnuson also created and miraculously passed the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), infuriating commercial fisheries, Native Americans, and MANY INDUSTRIES, particularly the BILLION-PLUS COSMETICS corporations that used, as their secret to moist skin care, lipstick, creamy foundation, the blubber of whales.

      He probably didn’t know that POPs chemicals [Persistant Organic Pollutants] that make fabric flame-proof would not harm infants/toddlers or eventual passage to water everywhere. Those flame retardant chemicals are now in the fat of POLAR BEARS hundreds of miles from humans.

      Magnuson’s MMPA, along with the 1970s whale craze, saved countless whales. His MMPA ended (we hope) the cruelly cavalier hunters giggling as they shot huge, slow targets. It was too late for many killer whale pods — extinct (they each have their own languages, lifestyles, etc.) — but he stopped U.S. military pilot trainees from shooting pods, aka Japanese vessels, even life boats (aka “children”).  

      • Dbb3

        Interesting.  I do remember Magnuson from an era when states like Montana and South Dakota elected Frank Church and George McGovern to multiple terms.  Actually I think that was Idaho with Church, can’t be bothered to Wiki it.

      • http://twitter.com/VeronicaVerona1 Veronica Verona

        My dad used to talk to Magnuson and Tom Foley on the phone in regards to his work for the Dept of Agriculture.  It always scared the pee out of me when I answered and they would be on the other end.