Random Rant 78 – Good Fucking Samaritans

  Most people know that I prefer to blog about writing and writing related news/topics. Every so often, however, something from my regular life – my non-author life – creeps up and smacks me in the head. It’s rarely poignant, insightful, or even necessary to make such notations or commentations. But that doesn’t stop me.

   My useless commentary tonight is about Good Samaritans. We all like to think we’re noble enough to go out of our way to help our fellow man. It’s a fantastic notion and makes us feel good about ourselves in a world that is increasingly violent, selfish, and degenerate. It’s during the opportunities that actually present themselves however we find ourselves choosing not to act and become the Good Samaritans we value, despite our philanthropic notions and mental statements.

   What has this to do with anything? you ask. Perhaps nothing. Something I noticed lately about how people act and their motivations for doing so. I’m in no way saying that I’m above such actions, that I am somehow more or less noble than anyone else. Even I, when the time presents itself to follow through on my intention of Good Samaritan-hood, find myself conflicted by personal safety, hurriedness (and, yes, that is my own word and I’m sticking to it), and inconvenience.

   Take, for instance, me walking. If you know me personally – whether well-known or just peripherally – you know that I enjoy walking. Not when it’s ridiculously hot; and certainly not when it is particularly cold (I am a creature-comfort kind of gal), but when I find the energy, desire, and correct atmosphere to walk. You also know that, rarely, out of necessity I walk – to the store, to run errands, or to the dreaded Paychecks.

   Lately I’ve been walking more often. It’s in part to a delusion that I’ll be healthier for doing so, in part to the notion that I’m doing something better for my home – the earth, and in part because, most of the time, it’s nice enough to walk for these purposes. I’ve particularly been walking to the dreaded Paychecks.

   Not surprisingly the exercise makes my nights at the dreaded Paycheck more enjoyable. I feel healthier, cleaner, and am invigorated. Even if it does cut into personal time with my loved ones a tad. And, most nights, the weather here in southern Indiana is cooperative. Especially this time of year. The last month I’ve chosen to walk more frequently and, most times – day or night, the weather has been clear and perfect. On these quinessential Fall days/nights, I’ve received no less than three offers of transportation from Good Samaritans. It was enough to make me start believing people weren’t as selfish as they seemed to have become as of late. Then it came time to walk to the dreaded Paycheck tonight, a necessity since our car is out of town this weekend with the Significant Other.

   It was not good.

   When I woke, I found it had been raining all day. It hadn’t been a hard rain but a persistent, light Fall rain thoroughly soaking everything. In my small, antiquated community, thorough rain becomes a problem. Our city sewage is inadequate for dealing with any amount of constant rain fall, and our streets quickly become overwhelmed with the volumes of water falling and flood. I also found, when checking the weather online and physically, it was quite cool. Not Winter temperatures for sure, but cool enough to make a walk any length of distance, especially in the rain, uncomfortable. Skipping the dreaded Paycheck was, unfortunately, not an option. So I broke out the long john underwear, layers up the hoodie with the long leather trench, and forewent stylish footwear for my comfortable, warm and watertight Winter boots. I plopped a skull cap over my ponytail and plucked the umbrella from its place as I went out the door, slipping my hands into light mittens as I went.

   The walk to Paycheck #1 (yes, I have several) is approximately 40 minutes from my house. Tonight, a result of sheer laziness, I needed to include an additional 8 blocks to my walk to swing by the convenience mart and get lunch. I left with an hour to spare.

   The irrelevance of the story is the errand I had to run on my way to the dreaded Paycheck. What is important is that the errand I needed to run took my down a well-traveled road in town with lots of streetlamps to see pedestrians. Not my usual route. What bothered me was how many people passed me – I counted 37 vehicles – as I walked. But, despite being cold and damp, I was still enjoying my walk. I wasn’t really perturbed until 2/3 of my walk was complete.

   As I mentioned before, our town is old. In fact it is the oldest city in the what was formerly called The Northwest Territory. It was, indeed, said territory’s capital. (Brownie points for you if you go and search out that tidbit of information, too.) Here, like in most places, the streets flood when it rains. I have yet to find a city whose sewage system adequately drains their streets when it rains. But, in a city whose roads are paved over cobblestone… well, water tends to pool next to the sidewalks. 

   Vehicle 18 is responsible for making my walk highly uncomfortable as it came around a bend in the street and, presumably not seeing me, did not slow. It splashed me with what I’m estimating to be around five gallons of water. I was lucky, it caught only my legs up to my thighs. And I was fortunate enough to have my leather trench coat protecting most of that, but I was still considerably wet after the fact. Vehicle 18 did not stop, did not apologize, did not offer me a ride.

   What dismayed me was the fact that 1) woman walking alone at night, 2) chilly, rainy weather, and 3) said woman is also noticeably soaked from the waist down, and no one stopped to offer a ride. No one was willing to be a Good Samaritan when someone might have needed and welcomed it. 19 vehicles. No assistance. Goes to show that, when it is not inconvenient, when it does not put people out, the notion of being a Good Samaritan is a solid fact in their mind. They have no doubt they’d happily offer assistance to their fellow man. However at night, in the rain, when it is chilly…

   There is little point to my ramble today. It isn’t designed to have a moral or to shame fellow humans into humanitarian actions. If it did, that would be good. Mainly it is because, chilled and wet, stuck at the dreaded Paycheck, I needed to vent. G’night.