Lending a hand

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Catawampus
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Lending a hand

Post by Catawampus » Wed Jun 01, 2016 8:47 pm

I was driving down a side road in one of the towns here, and I noticed a young girl (probably about high school age) walking down the sidewalk. I don't know that I'd ever seen her before, much less spoken with her. She was staggering along trying to carry a load of boxes that looked to be about half as big as she was, and was obviously having a really difficult time with their weight and number and everything. The weather being humid and in the 90's ºF (which is fairly hot for around here) probably didn't help her any, either.

My initial impulse was to pull over and offer her a lift, but I immediately thought: strange middle-aged guy inviting a pretty 16ish-year-old girl into his car. . .yeah, there's no way at all that that could have any dire consequences or set off any alarms. Instead, I pulled into a church parking lot that was convenient, then walked over to her and asked if she could use a hand carrying the boxes. She quite delightedly replied that she could, so I took most of them and started down the sidewalk with her.

Cue a group of middle-aged women standing around on a porch nearby raising a fuss at me about me acting like a creepy stalker and pedophile and how I was being totally inappropriate.

I wasn't about to just dump the boxes back onto her and tell her that I'd changed my mind, though, so we continued on down the street for a few blocks until we got to what I'm assuming was her house. I put the boxes down on the front porch and wished her a good day, she offered to let me come inside and have something to drink, I declined, and then I went back to my car. On the way past the ladies on the porch, they fussed at me some more and threatened to call the police.

So, I'm a bit confused. To my own thinking, I didn't do anything wrong or sinister. I'd also thought that I'd managed to avoid anything that society in general would get all indignant about. The gaggle of womenfolk seemed to think differently, however.

What's your take on it all?

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GlytchMeister
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Re: Lending a hand

Post by GlytchMeister » Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:29 pm

People don't expect actual real altruism. It's too rare, so when it happens, all people usually think is "what angle is he working and what does he want out of this?"

The world is an unfriendly place, so people get nervous when someone actually acts friendly.
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Sgt. Howard
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Re: Lending a hand

Post by Sgt. Howard » Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:54 pm

Those incapable of altruistic measures refuse to believe anyone else capable... just like liars trust no-one's word... those weaknesses we see in ourselves we tend to assign to others, often too freely. Besides, those little old ladies very likely hadn't been getting any 'attention' lately and probably highly resented any form of attention 'lavished' on a teen girl.
Yea... somebody might think something funny going on here... but not enough to involve John Law if the girl seems in no distress.
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Warrl
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Re: Lending a hand

Post by Warrl » Thu Jun 02, 2016 4:32 am

Also some people will go well out of their way to be offended and shocked, in order to justify feeling superior.

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Atomic
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Re: Lending a hand

Post by Atomic » Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:21 am

Such is the difference between living in a neighborhood and a "development." You and your neighbors know each other -- a development, not so much. This is a culture issue.

Newspapers (adjust for social media of your choice) don't Give you the news, they Sell you the news. So, the world is constantly falling apart, film at eleven, and aren't you glad it isn't happening to you (the raison d'etre for grocery store tabloids) because doom is just around the corner...

Church and other social institutions exist to both support and reinforce the community. Everybody watching The Khardasians doesn't do that.
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TazManiac
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Re: Lending a hand

Post by TazManiac » Tue Jun 07, 2016 5:16 pm

I'm late to the party but I'm thinking those making such a fuss from the porch should have come out in the sun and lent a hand; grab a box and chaperone...

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Catawampus
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Re: Lending a hand

Post by Catawampus » Wed Jun 08, 2016 3:08 am

TazManiac wrote:I'm late to the party but I'm thinking those making such a fuss from the porch should have come out in the sun and lent a hand; grab a box and chaperone...
That's something that annoys me about many of the more vocal social commentators: "I'm going to sit here and loudly complain about how things ought to be. . .and sit here. . .and sit here. . .why isn't everything fixed yet?"

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Atomic
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Re: Lending a hand

Post by Atomic » Wed Jun 08, 2016 8:16 am

Catawampus wrote:That's something that annoys me about many of the more vocal social commentators: "I'm going to sit here and loudly complain about how things ought to be. . .and sit here. . .and sit here. . .why isn't everything fixed yet?"
You've reminded me of my time in Britain, where so much is similar to America, but not quite. For example, attitudes toward public action and problem solving. We've all heard of something similar to a speaker on the radio or TV going on about the sad state of the famous old tree in the town square, and how it commemorates the Special Event of so many years ago. In America, the speaker would finish with, "And We need to do something about it!"

The British version would be, "And the Council needs to do something about it!"

In other words -- I have a problem and somebody else should fix it for me.

This led to many a delightful discussion with British friends over dinners and such. Learned helplessness, they realized, had been institutionalized in much of their society.
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Warrl
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Re: Lending a hand

Post by Warrl » Thu Jun 09, 2016 3:14 pm

Unfortunately often, even in the US, the "we need to do something about it" translates to "we need to persuade THIS group of people to force THAT group of people to do something about it".

In other words, we have a problem and someone else needs to fix it ... with a gun to their heads to encourage them to do so.

(And if the prescribed fix actually makes the problem worse, it just shows that the people with the gun to their heads aren't being forced to do enough.)

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