A Ridiculous Amount Of The Time

Running huskies Roll out of bed, jam the trainers on, get kids up, dogs need to go out and get fed. Lunch for the Prince, coffee to jump-start me, the Princess needs a ride to school because she’s overslept (again). Come back and start another chorus in the song of motherhood: are your teeth brushed yet? Is your hair brushed yet? How about now? Where are your shoes? Are your teeth brushed? No? Well, go brush them. And your hair. Where’s your coat? Your homework? Yes, I like that hairstyle, now go brush it… And all with the dogs underfoot, grunting and panting their happiness that the house is awake and the kibble has been dispensed.

Somehow, each morning, everything gets sorted out just in the nick. Kids, dogs, bread dough: they all take time, and they all turn out well far more frequently than you’d think.

There’s a passage near the end of Stephen King’s IT, where the Turtle tells Bill Denborough (oh, authorial self-insertion much? But I forgive you, King, for Ben Hanscom’s sake) to be brave, be true and to stand, and the eleven-year-old starts laughing, because he’s noticed, even at that tender age, that things do work out well a ridiculous amount of the time. Every time I read the passage I smile, because it just…the force of the realization clicks home. Maybe it’s because I’m in a relatively privileged part of the globe; still, it’s always amazing. Most of the strangers I see are occasionally boorish or irritating, but not actively murderous. I am, for example, always amazed that there aren’t more car accidents and road rage in school parking lots, what with all the refusing to wait and cooperate a small proportion of the parents do. It’s easy to just see the jerkwads who are behaving badly.

But that means one overlooks the rest of us, who wait and take turns. Who stop for the crosswalks and bring the grocery cart to the return, who let the guy with just two items step into line in front of them with their heavily-laden cart because they’re going to take a while. Who return a wallet to the lost and found with all its cash inside, who find a woman’s bank card at the dog park and ask until they find its owner. Who make merging into a crowded freeway a little less problematic by obeying the unspoken rules of first you then me then you then me. The mothers who grab a toddler heading in front of a car even when it’s not their own kid, and the patient people who slow down in Costco to let the old, hunched-frail lady whose grandson is helping her shop shuffle along at her own pace since she’s earned that much. The vast mass of us who generally wait our turn, no matter how irritated we get.

Humanity is, yes, nasty brutish and short-tempered. We’re filling our planet with crap and killing each other in unprecedented numbers. But there’s also a great mass of us who try to be well-mannered, who endure, who pick up the bricks and sweep up after the shelling and try to feed our loved ones and struggle along without being asshats. Those are the people who don’t make the news, but if humanity is moving forward at all, they’re the sleigh dogs providing a great deal of the pull. And on this fragile, heartbreakingly beautiful little blue dot, things have been working out, not just every morning but since the first dawning…

…a ridiculous amount of the time.

  • I work in customer service so I get the worst of humanity every day, and today especially. So thank you for posting this because I needed to be reminded that there are more of us who actually do care and have manners. 🙂

  • Lovely, Lilith. And true. One of the blessings of growing up and getting older is being able to look back and see how things somehow really do work out.

  • Wolf Lahti

    It’s as I keep telling people – the bad drivers stand out precisely because they are the exception.

    Relatedly, I periodically remind myself how astounding it is that there are not more accidents than there are. because, after all, the only thing keeping the cars from smashing into one another is lines of paint on the roadway.

  • martianmoncrab

    Pretty soon I wont be going anywhere until forced too by others, or until the holidays are over, the only breaks you catch in the parking lots are from those who want your spot, otherwise they will take the assend off the car. Or the nubs who park in the crosshatched spaces between the handicapped spots.. because their need is so great and so urgent.

  • Jenna

    Well said, Ms. Lili! I always say that if we all do a little, we all get a lot. I return other peoples’ shopping carts, help people find their way around the Quarter, give smokes and money to anyone who asks. It isn’t much. I’m sure as hell not getting a Nobel prize for it or anything, but but it costs me little, and I like to know I saved a tired store employee the trouble or helped someone in need. Thanks for doing the same!