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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Grist for the Mill » Way to subvert a stereotype.

   
Author Topic: Way to subvert a stereotype.
MattLeo
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I went for what should have been a modest 20 mile bike ride today, but it was hot for this neck of the woods (87F) and humid, and I'm not in shape this season yet. The course had a lot of hills -- not very steep ones but long and exposed to the hot noon sun.

Toward the end of the ride I found myself tooling up a long, sunny hill into a headwind, and I stop in a patch of shade to catch my breath and admire a fine, obviously architect-designed house. A Mercedes is parked out front.

I resume working my way uphill against the blast-furnace headwind, but a few minutes later the Mercedes roars up next to me, the window rolls down and the driver holds out a bottle of water to me. It is weeping with condensation.

"Hey! You need water?" He asks.

"No, filled up a couple miles back," I gasp.

"OK!" the guy says, and he turns around and drives back to his house.

This guy saw me climbing the hill on my bike on a hot day, grabbed a bottle of water out of the refrigerator, ran out then chased me a quarter mile up the hill to offer it to me. And he was a rich guy with a fancy car, too.

And here's the thing: such acts of unprovoked kindness don't happen every day, but on the other hand they're really not all that rare either. I can name a dozen people I know who'd do something like that. But it doesn't fit many people's views of the way the world works. I'd hesitate to write a character doing something like that, for example. I might have it happen to him, and then maybe have him nonplussed.

A fictitious world where spontaneous kindness is commonplace doesn't seem credible. But in my experience it actually is fairly common. There's also horrible indifference too in the real world too, but I don't think there's actually more of it. Yet somehow indifference is a lot easier to believe.

It reminds me of the line from the psalm, probably my favorite line in the entire Bible: Surely goodness and loving-kindess will follow me all the days of my life. And so far, it has!

I wish I'd had the energy to show a little more appreciation for the effort this guy made, but I was knackered.

Posts: 1290 | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Great story, Matt.
I have missed you.
Oddly enough my most recent WOTF story entry was entitled "Shall Follow Me All the Days of My Life." [Smile]
It garnered but an HM, however.

I hope things are well with you and that you're continuing to write unique and intriguing stories.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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