Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Tire Iron and the Tamale...

Here's a story that will make you feel better about humanity, though not necessarily about your fellow Americans.

We live out in the sticks, far away from the bustling city (though I commute to work there most days).  One of the things we cherish about living out here is precisely that if you are in need of help, chances are good that your neighbors (and folks that pass you on the roads) will stop and lend you a hand.  But we're all too familiar with the feelings of the author about how that would work out “down the hill” in the city.

Debbie and I make a regular practice of stopping to help people or animals in need.  Because I commute to work quite early in the morning, I'm fairly often the first to happen upon some unfortunate situation, and many is the time that I've stopped to assist.  Similarly, when I've stopped for whatever reason, I've had my people stop to see if I was ok.  When Debbie and I are on one of our road trips, we're off in some fairly remote areas, and again are sometimes the first to pass by someone in need of help.  Most of the time when we stop to ask someone if they're ok, they're perfectly fine – they may have simply stopped to eat lunch or to enjoy the scenery.  Often these people are quite surprised that anyone would bother stopping to check on them.  Pleased, but surprised.

Personally I think this is one of cultural consequences of cities, those vast accumulation of nameless strangers in whom you cannot afford to trust.  Outside the cities, that simply isn't so – we all lean on each other when we need some help, and we're all looking out for each other as well.  Of course it's not quite so absolute – there are certainly untrustworthy people living outside the cities, and not everyone out here is going to be neighborly.  But the proportions are definitely skewed out in the country, skewed in the direction that I am much more comfortable with.

I suspect that's what the author ran into.  His benefactor, I'll guess, wasn't willing to help because he was a poor Mexican.  He was willing to help because he came from the culture of the countryside, not the city...

1 comment:

  1. While I do this quite a bit as well, I got a bit more cautious after I found a man who had been shot and left dead on the side of the road. If I had been 10 minutes earlier in my decent down my quiet, typically peaceful, and very scenic road "in the middle of nowhere", I would have been stopping to ask a couple of thugs who were minutes away from using a shotgun on an unfortunate acquaintence.