The adage “Never Judge A Book By Its Cover” is especially true (and often over-looked) when looking at our fellow humans. In our daily rush of getting from Point A to Point B, we tend to forget and overlook others. Not just at traffic lights with the expected make a left on green from the right turn lane types, but the nameless ones we see at traffic lights, trying to collect whatever donations people feel inclined to give them. Sure, some might be scamming along, we’ve all heard the stories of some guy panhandling on ‘his corner’ looking like three kinds of grief and sadness at his woeful luck, only to be spotted climbing into a new BMW around the corner and laughing the whole way. Perhaps. On the other end, there are those who have just had a bad hand of fate dealt to them. Yesterday, I saw a guy on a corner – I was first up at the light. I went digging for change, checked the ashtray – nope. I felt pretty foolish – and told him so… he simply said “Thanks for talking to me and letting me know I exist – most people don’t”. He said his company was on hard times because the boss had messed up his back. I asked him what he did for a living, and suggested he go check a temp agency not too far away as they were always hiring. That made his day – someone who listened to him. I wish him luck and a speedy recovery to his boss as well.
Another ‘book’ is one that I’m getting to know as I go to the Commissary (that’s supermarket in Civilian English) at Naval Air Station Oceana each Sunday afternoon, unless I happen to be at work due to schedules and system availabilities. Anyhoot, I try to use the self-checkout line – I don’t buy a whole lot, and generally there is a guy (disabled Veteran) who is in a wheelchair who checks IDs, and helps customers with the often cantankerous scanners that they have. Nothing is more frustrating there than to hear that ‘BLEEP’ that announces to everyone within audible range that you are a certified incompetent, unqualified to scan items without adult supervision. If there were a hierarchy of BLEEP counts, I would probably rate in the top 10%... which is really infuriating considering what my day job is. I can tell you in painful boring geek detail, exactly HOW it works, including the numerous data bases, inventories, and all kinds of wondrous things that scanner actually interacts with. I can tell you how that information gets from that scanner to the big mystery warehouse somewhere in the deep woods of northern Iowa (classified location of course, we are talking about the military here) but to get that scanner to agree that my eye-hand-scanner coordination is in sync with it, is quite another story. I can hold my own at Harris Teeter or Kroger’s, but the United States By God Navy Commissary at Oceana seems to take a special interest in old farts like me. Thankfully, that disabled Vet in a wheelchair not only zooms around in his custom chair, but also keeps things straight and orderly, instead of letting them pile up and cause more of a bottleneck. He won’t say a word, but when you turn around and you see 5 12-packs of Coke® products (5 for $11 is quite the deal) and 4 bags of everything else stacked up neatly, you gotta’ go huh?! When other employees (non-impaired in any way except a willingness to assist – they’re more of the attitude of simply parking their ample selves on a high stool and survey their domain, deeming it appropriate to plop down and waddle over at their leisure, much to the chagrin of that hapless shopper. I am included in those ranks as well, and have mentioned this to their management, who does not give one hoot about learning to spell customer service. Frustrating, to be sure. They would do well to emulate their ‘impaired’ co-worker. He literally rides circles around them in more ways than one.
Special Olympics Virginia holds their annual Polar Plunge this weekend – a group of dedicated volunteers from all walks of life who go way beyond and over the top to help those with intellectual disabilities. My brother Knights and I will be there helping in a variety of capacities – it goes without saying where and what I’ll be doing – check it out on Facebook… look for Polar Plunge – and you’ll see what 2,500 people look forward to doing each year – spending quality time in the Atlantic Ocean to raise funds. Weather forecast for Saturday is mostly sunny (a good thing) air temp of 42, water temp of 39-40. I deal with that routinely by choice – in a wetsuit. They deal with it once a year by choice in bikinis, swim shorts, and no shortage of colorful costumes.
To see past year’s antics: http://www.cadellphotography.com/p504696927
Have a great week.