Thursday, January 12, 2006
Confirming a Well-Founded Bias
Last evening confirmed another inner city bias for me.
Actually, now that I think of it, I received two confirmations.
On my way home, well after dark, my front tire blew out. I wasn't going fast, but I was on a fairly dark, deserted side street not far from my office.
I hate it when that happens.
I don't enjoy changing tires, especially when I am already running late with take-out ordered from one of my favorite local "joints."
Of course I shouldn't complain because until last evening I had never had to change a tire on the car I'm driving these days. Have had a flat or two--after all, this is East Dallas!--but all within driving distance of our local tire shop that specializes in fixing East Dallas flats.
The flat confirmed my first bias--a negative one. The streets of my neighborhood have more nails per square foot than any where on earth!
My second confirmation was much more important.
As I was down on my knees trying to figure out my wonderful, compact jack system, a man appeared from nowhere. Just sort of emerged from the dark street. He was there so quickly that he startled me a bit.
He had a flashlight, a smile and a simple question, "Need some help?"
I love it when that happens!
My car had come to a stop in front of his house.
"I thought I heard someone bangin' around out here," he continued. "I can see you got trouble. Didn't want you to have it alone!"
Turns out that my new friend works in a used car lot and has daily experience with flats, blow-outs, brakes and auto finance!
We worked as a team for about 15 minutes and the job was done.
In that brief time lapse I find out that his birthday is today--mine is tomorrow! He is going to be 53, I'll be 56--where do the years go?
When I had the tools stowed and my friend thanked properly, we talked a bit more.
As I was getting into my car, he invited to come back and visit sometime soon.
Oh, and he gave me a brief lecture about getting on down to the tire shop for a new spare.
"Don't be driving around here without a solid spare now!"
My new buddy confirmed my bias: the vast majority of the people I know in the city are just great folks. Lots of good people living tough lives.
Nothing much to fear here, except missing the opportunity to meet as many neighbors as possible.
I hope your neighborhood is like mine.