I Saved A Girl

kwai-chang-caine-kung-fu

I made a rare public appearance at a 3-story mall tonight… with the exception of playing shows, I have been hiding away on my private island for so long that it feels odd going out into a public place… sometimes I feel like a leper or wormhole alien visiting another planet… or like when you first land in another country… everything is new and fresh and strange…

I was on a deliberate mission… a couple months ago, I visited the same place, trying on 7 or 8 different pairs of shoes, looking for the right fit… the salesperson took a great deal of time and effort bringing out box after box… pouring on the charm, telling me how groovy I looked in each pair… it turned out they were out of the particular color I wanted in my exact size, so I gave up…

Yesterday, I found the same ones online for quite a bit cheaper… one of my particular curses in life, I believe, is genetic… from my father’s father, to my father, to me… I was born with the overwhelming burning burden to always find the “best bargain,” negotiate and barter like a TV game show, find the best deal possible… it makes me sick to my stomach if I find out, after the fact, that I’ve paid more than I should have…. whether it’s buying a car, or buying groceries, or filling up at the gas station… anything in life… “always find the best deal”… it is embarrassing. occasionally I break free of my oppressive shopping demon, and spend more than I know something costs, maybe to save time or trouble… but more often than not, I am enslaved to “the deal”…

In this case, I wanted to do the right thing (Dennis Prager passionately applies the “do not steal” commandment to stealing someone’s time… if you go into a shop KNOWING you will not be buying, but pump the salesperson with the intent of buying it cheaper online later, knowingly stealing his time, it is wrong)…

So I went back to buy them from the same guy who spent so much time with me earlier… they were still out of stock, but so long as that person got the commission, I told them they could ship to me from another store… the sales guy was touched, and my heart was light and happy, knowing he got his deserved commission.

As I was leaving, I came to the top of the 3-story escalator, where a tiny 4-year old Asian girl was stepping on and off… she was too frightened to ride down and her father was already at the very bottom, holding onto his other love child in a stroller. The father kept calling up to her, trying to coax her down, and was noticeably torn over whether he should leave the stroller’d kid to retrieve his tiny 4 year old daughter. I stood there for a couple minutes to make sure she didn’t tumble down… and heard her sheepishly say in her tiny voice, “I’m scared.”
I finally said to her, “Hey, you want to hold my hand? We can go down together.”
I completely forgot to ask the dad for his permission, and just took her tiny 4-year old hand, and we slowly and carefully rode down three flights together. I tried to take her mind off of it, and told her how fun it was, like a roller coaster. The mother had just arrived as we were stepping off. Both parents were calm and kind and thanked me, and prodded the tiny girl to thank me, also. It was quite sweet.

On my way home from the scene, I started thinking about how this sort of thing rarely happens anymore…. that small town, innocent trusting… I mean, without a kid getting kidnapped, that is. Nobody really trusts anyone, particularly strangers, or at least they seem surprised by random acts of selfless, non-profit kindness… sad, really…

Maybe THIS is my calling… to walk the earth, saving kids, pulling kittens out of tall trees, helping grandmothers across the street… I could just do a national, coast-to-coast “Help Tour”… like a super hero… or Kwai Chang Kane…

Anyway, cheers to you, Kumiko, and your family, and thanks for the roller coaster ride.