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The Golden Rule

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People suck sometimes. But they also rock on a regular basis. Call me Pollyanna, but I think it’s good to be an optimist. Then again, I’m human, and do I lose sight of the bright side sometimes — usually over little things, like the creep who cuts me off in traffic for no apparent reason, or the cheapskate friend who never leaves tip money when we split the bill at lunch. These things aren’t earth-shattering, deal-breaking issues, but they sure can put you in a funk for a few hours, you know? Most recently, I worked myself into a right proper huff because I lost my cell phone, which I will freely admit was my own damn fault. But still. It sucks to lose the phone, and it really sucks to lose all those phone numbers that I never entirely managed to transfer to any other location. I’m sure I’m not the first person to leave a phone somewhere, abandoned on a restaurant table — or so I thought — as a group of us left, rather spontaneously, to pursue further libations after a celebratory birthday dinner on Friday night. I realized that the phone was MIA as soon as we reached our next destination, and quite frankly wasn’t very worried, figuring that it would be easily reclaimed the next day from the neighborhood eatery we had just left. Surely you can imagine my disappointment the next morning when I called to reclaim the errant cellie, and was told that no, it had not been found. My next move: a thorough search of the car, a series of phone calls to friends, and a back-tracking expedition to the restaurant and the after-stop at the bar. The result? Nada. Nothing. Zip. I had cabbed home from the second stop (always the smart move after celebratory cocktails), so I double-backtracked to be sure it wasn’t lost en route somewhere. Still nothing. I wrote if off to the netherworld of lost phones — I’ve lost two others in my years of bar-hopping and lounge-lizarding — and I came home resigned to the (very, very irritating) fact that my cell had simply been nabbed somewhere along the way. But then something else happened. While I was out playing pissed-off girl detective, hubby had received a phone call from my cell number. Of course he assumed it was me, having found the traveling gadget, and answered with a typical “Hey, babe.” He was only a little shocked to hear a deep male voice inquiring as to whether this was his cell phone. A guy — a Good Samaritan — had found the number in my address book for “home,” called, and hubby went off to retrieve it. Oddly enough, the phone had traveled many blocks around Capitol Hill before it landed with the Good Samaritan. This guy was hanging out on a Saturday, having a barbecue, and a buddy apparently dropped off the phone hoping that he’d find the owner. The fact that someone cared enough to look us up, and make the effort to return it — a stupid cell phone, after all — says a lot about the kindness of strangers. (Thank you, neighbor!) I know it’s nothing major, but little things like this make me believe in the greater good. In the bigger picture, it’s the small things that remind us to treat our neighbors well, in the hope that they will do the same for us.

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