June 27, 2004

Random Acts of Kindness

I happen to be an actual local of Arlington, Virginia -- well before the disgustingly ugly McMansions (have you seen the shit they built across from Arlington Hospital?) and McOffice Buildings that have popped up across the Ballston and Clarendon stretches, before Carpool existed, before the vast number of JMU, UVA and VTech alums invaded. It's truly sad, the damage they've done.

But today I was reminded of why I love this city so much. While housesitting here for Mike and Eileen, I received a phone call. The woman on the line asked for Mike. "He's not home at the moment" I told her.

"Oh, well you don't know me, but my name is Mary Stump, and I borrowed a book from the library that he returned. It had his airline and car rental receipts, and I thought he might need them back; they look like business expenses."

I told her that was very kind of her, and that she could mail it to them if she liked. I gave her the address and then she said, oh well, since she was in Arlington, she would just bring them over. And she did! She went through all that trouble to find Mike's phone number, make contact, and return these documents that he forgot in a library book. How nice, huh?

And yesterday, mom and dad's neighbor Jim mowed their lawn for them while he was doing his own. It's somewhat fascinating that despite the Washington metropolitan overtones in Arlington -- particularly apparent now with the increased density, that the previous generation of denizens maintain that sense of neighborly kindness that made our childhood here pretty perfect.

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