My Good Deed Went Unpunished

I’ve been struggling with this blog lately, for a few different reasons.  Firstly, the baby has been sick, she’s been teething, and I haven’t been getting much sleep or free time.  But more importantly, I’ve been trying to figure out what I want this blog to be.

At first, I thought this would be a good place to document my efforts to keep some balance in my life while looking after my baby daughter.  Pete and I have managed to do some biking, some banjo picking, some cottaging, some camping, and lots of other fun things we used to do before C made her debut.  I have to admit that it’s nice to keep a little record of our lives during this time, because it goes by so quickly and it can be such a blur.  I’m sure I’ll look back and be grateful that I’ve written these posts.

At the same time, blogging can feel self-indulgent.  I’d like to be blogging about how I’m contributing, in some way, to making the world, or at least my community, a better place.  I’ve always volunteered, and I’m beginning to think that I should direct some of my extra energy toward something positive and productive.  I’ve considered a few different options.

I’ve been mulling this over for the past few weeks.  I really want to be making a difference.  I want to set a good example for C.  The culture she is growing up in can be so narcissistic and I’d like her to be a generous, empathetic little person.

This was all in the back of my mind the other day when I went out to Dairy Queen to get blizzards for Pete and me.  Pete would probably like for me to point out that we have Dairy Queen about twice a year (the last time was on two-for-one blizzard day, which was crazy).  It was about 6:30 pm, but it had been extremely hot that day, and was still quite warm.  I pulled into the parking lot next to an orange car and when I looked inside, I could see that someone had left their dog inside with the windows up.  The dog seemed fine, but he was panting.  I went inside, looked around at the other customers, and hoped that when I went back outside the car would be gone.  But when I got my blizzards and went back outside, the dog was still there, in the car, with the windows still up.  I considered my options.  Go back inside and let the staff know?  They were all teenagers running around trying to take orders, and I didn’t think they would be able or willing to do much.  Ask around to see whose dog it was?  That was a bit confrontational, and the thought scared me a bit (there were a few rough-looking characters in there).  I decided quickly to just check the doors of the car, in case they were unlocked.  The front door was, in fact, unlocked, so I opened it quickly and tried to roll down the window for the dog.  The dog jumped into the front seat and for a split second I thought he would either try to attack me (he was a big guy and I was in his territory) or try to escape.  The window didn’t roll down easily, since it was a pretty old, rusty car.  I managed to get it down a bit and quickly closed the door again.  I jumped into my own car and as I did I saw a man set down his order on a picnic table near the restaurant and start to walk towards our cars.  I’m not sure whether he saw me close his car door, but he gave me a very intimidating look as he walked toward me.  My heart was racing.  I didn’t look away, though.  I stared right back at him.  This was a scary, scary-looking guy.  I quickly started the car, drove off, and vowed that I would never do anything like that again.  It was stupid.  I put myself at risk.

I’m not sure if there is a moral to this story or not.  I tried to do the right thing, but that poor dog is still living with that man.  I didn’t save it.  I put myself in harm’s way, and for what?  I’m sure that guy didn’t learn a lesson about animal care that day.  He didn’t have a Disney-esque change of heart and decide to do right by his dog from now on.

I’m hoping that the lesson I’ve learned is that there are many ways I can make a difference that don’t result in a frightening showdown in a Dairy Queen parking lot.  And I’m hoping that I can blog about those things here.  (I do realize that blogging about them is still self-indulgent, but hey, baby steps.)  Whether I’m able to do so mostly depends on C, and those pesky teeth of hers.

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8 thoughts on “My Good Deed Went Unpunished

  1. Thank you for trying to help that dog, even though you were intimidated. Working in veterinary ERs, I can assert that heatstroke is a HORRIBLE way for dogs to die, and your good deed was certainly appreciated by that dog, and by me! Kudos to you; I’m glad nothing bad happened to you, and so sad that those kind of situations aren’t rarer.

  2. That was a good deed, and I’m so relieved that you didn’t get creamed by that scary guy. I can’t believe with all of the public service announcements (and basic common sense) that people still leave their pets in hot cars. Disgusting. You also blogged about volunteer work. Maybe you could play your banjo for the elderly. You can’t play a sad song on the banjo, and people do love it, despite the Deliverance jokes. And I don’t think your blogging is self-indulgent. Your blog fills a void I think, talking about how to still enjoy aspects of your life and not be entirely consumed by the “mom” identity. Kudos to you.

    • Well, I like that idea because it would give me a good excuse to practice my banjo (that’s where I’ve really been failing in my balancing act) but is there such a service? Banjo playing for the elderly?

  3. I can’t tell you how much fun it is for me to get the messages that a new blog is up! Always so much fun to read and helps me feel like I am closer and missing out on just a little less less. Keep doing those things that make you happy- there is nothing self-indulgent about having something all for you that you enjoy. I think it can only make you a better mom and partner. Not to mention, the amusement, wisdom, and safety tips you are sharing with the blogosphere are a critically important social service.
    Keep it up!

  4. Raising a caring and thoughtful child has the same effect on society as the ripple effect when you throw a stone in the water. Her kindness will touch many people and it started with you and Pete. 🙂
    Sigrid

    • That’s such a lovely thing to say, Sigrid, thank you. It’s nice to be reminded of this (especially on days when being a parent is particularly challenging). And you obviously did a fantastic job with Andrea. She’s caring and thoughtful and very, very funny. Thanks again.

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