i've made this resolution - just be kinder. my friend, hank, warned me that writing those words is easy, making them part of your day-to-day life is much more difficult. 
 
today, i ventured out to do a little side walking, coffee stalking, and book talking. in particular, i was seeking tom spanbauer - i received some quizzical looks, heard some 'experts' say they knew him while their eyes danced around mine (i'm no expert, i couldn't spell his name) and found a computer that knew him. 
 
dangerously close to conglomerate buying, i went looking for a smaller, more smiley store. 
 
then this commitment to kindness came into sharp focus. i thought it’d be easy peasy, lemon-queasy. hey man, watch out 'cause real life is
somewhat surly about assumptions. 
 
this commitment requires commitment. it demands that i be present in the world, not huddled in my i-pod and cell phone bubble.
 
i walked down the street that is often frequented by folks with a hand or cup out. a street on which the pedestrian pace picks up to an eyes straight ahead double time march. 
 
corner of ignore avenue and hurry-up road.
 
i went past a man, bearded scruff, dirty and damn cold, looking for some change. in my little i-pod cocoon - whiz - right by him.
  
a few steps later, it clunked me right in the forehead. kindness. i went by him as though he were transparent. i looked back, turned  around.
 
i dropped some minus 21-degree coins in his cup. a couple of  quarters i think. he seemed genuinely grateful, but only fleetingly looked up at
me. a minus 21 degree shiver of unwanted, tangible social status chewed on my spine.
 
i looked at him, wondered how he ended up on a bitter cold  ottawa street. then i carried on, carrying the reality that this kindness thing
is going to be different than i thought. unless i confine myself to opening doors for people and giving up my seat on the bus.
 
it might hard and seem wholly inadequate. in those short moments, the clinking of coins, the thank you sir, a bigger picture of inequality and attitudes became  clearer.
 
my meagre act of kindness felt small, didn't really make me feel better. i suppose that's the point though. i hope that it made the gentleman on
the street a bit warmer.

 





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