Here’s the skinny: I walked out this afternoon to take my work garbage out to the dumpster and noticed the right front tire on my car had gone flat. It was a little infuriating. Not only can I not afford to fix a tire right now, but I also had someplace I wanted to be after work. Not the happiest of times.
As I struggled with changing my tire, no fewer than half a dozen people came by and offered to help. We’re not talking dudes passing by simply asking if I needed help. I’m talking people offering to go get gear and come back to help. We’re talking an exchange of phone numbers in case I couldn’t get it taken care of in a timely manner. I had one friend that came over and ended up waiting nearly an hour while I tried to get the job done. She didn’t have to do that, but she did.
I have a heart condition, which means it takes me three times longer to do strenuous jobs as it does healthy folks. Sadly, changing a flat is an incredibly strenuous job for me. By the time I had the old tire off and in the trunk, I felt like my lungs were on fire, my heart was set to burst, my legs were made of Jell-o. It was at this point that something kinda awesome happened. My boss and her husband left for the day and stopped to see if I needed help. Although I tried to wave them off and convince them I’d be fine, they helped me get the spare on. Then they let me back into work to wash the dirt and grease and blood (I kinda jabbed myself) off my hands. AND THEN they followed me to the nearest Maverick gas station, helped fill the spare with air, and bought me a liter of water. (bet you thought I was gonna say “liter o’ cola”, didn’t you.)
As I drove home, very, VERY slowly, thoughts began to churn and I figured something out: Stacker Pentecost had a point.
Stacker Pentecost is Idris Elba’s character in Pacific Rim, the hardass tasked with leading Jaeger pilots in their battle against the other-dimensional kaiju. When things look bleakest, before the big final showdown, Pentecost delivers an impassioned (for a big Hollywood movie, any way) speech that goes a little like this:
“Today… At the edge of our hope, at the end of our time, we have chosen not only to believe in ourselves, but in each other. Today there is not a man nor woman in here that shall stand alone. Not today. Today we face the monsters that are at our door and bring the fight to them. Today, we are cancelling the apocalypse!”
Now Idris Elba is one of my favorite actors. He was great in The Losers. He makes for a killer Heimdall. And if you haven’t seen him in Luther, I think you’re missing out. So, I like the guy and I’m down with just about anything he says. Still, as awesome as Pacific Rim is, and it’s neck and neck with The World’s End for my favorite movie of the year, it’s big ass robots fighting big ass monsters. It’s fluff. At least it was until today.
Now for some reason, I grew up to believe that I had to do life alone, independent of everyone else. Watching someone else selflessly fix up my hurt, I began to wonder whether or not that’s actually true. When I vocalized this wonder, my boss’s husband (who I guess is technically my boss since he’s my boss’s boss… I think…) dropped the bomb. He said “the key to being independent is knowing when to ask for help”. Sounds obvious, but to me… HOLY BRAIN NOVA, BATMAN.
I realized one incontrovertible truth as I drove home: That I am way too hard on people. There are some seriously awesome people walking the face of this planet, and I’m very fortunate to know more than my fair share personally. When I take a step away from my problems and rise above my stress, I can see that I am super frakking blessed. (I’mma tie in the Pacific Rim stuff. I promise.)
So, here’s what I decided tonight: that even though I don’t really believe in myself, I can believe in other people. There are loads of people just waiting to buoy you up if you’ll just ask. Some of them won’t even charge you! So, I’m choosing to believe in others, that most people are genuinely good and try to do what’s right and help each other as often as they can. I can believe this. I’ve seen it firsthand.
To the folks who gave me a hand or offered to help me out today, I owe you a debt of gratitude I can’t possibly repay. To my friends and family (many of whom are friends AND family), you guys are one of the few things that’s kept me from putting myself in a casket, and that means a helluva lot. Okay, it was really you guys and scary-ass metal music, but the point still stands. As I go forth, I hope to be able to be there for others the way you’ve all been there for me. Oh, and… TODAY, WE ARE CANCELLING THE APOCALYPSE!!! The Metalocalypse is still happening though.