Wednesday, August 19, 2009

On A Hot August Day In The Heights

You know how sometimes you could do something so completely jerky, you wonder how you had it in you? Well, maybe you don't know. That's what happened to me yesterday, anyway.

It was my first day in the Heights. I got to my apartment a little before 12. A guy from Ikea was supposed to come and build my Ikea furniture, but I wasn't sure when exactly he was coming. Because of that, I could not leave my apartment.

However, since it was only my first day there, I did not own any food. None of my apartment mates were around. I figured the Ikea guy would come soon enough anyway, (he was supposed to come between 12 and 2) so I stuck around the apartment instead of going to Key Food to buy stuff to eat.

The Ikea guy came at three and left at five. By that point, I had basically fasted the entire day, aside from my quick bowl of cereal at nine in the morning. I literally felt like passing out. Luckily, my good friend D2 invited me for dinner.

On the way to D2's apartment, I passed a young Jewish guy, probably around my age, lugging two big chairs along the sidewalk. Now, not only did the chairs look heavy, but the heat that day (like every day recently) was overbearingly oppressive. "Humid" is an understatement. The guy stopped for a rest and looked like he could really use a glass of water, or a bed, or a personal air conditioning installed in his clothing (wouldn't that be an awesome invention?), or, I dunno...some HELP, maybe?

My gut instinct said, "Ask him if he needs help!"

Meanwhile, there were still a number of feet between us - too many for me to say anything to him just yet. It was know that really awkward situation where you see someone you know all the way down the street and you both acknowledge each other with a smile or something, but then you have a minute or two of walking before you can actually start talking to each other, so you both walk towards each other and you don't know if you should keep smiling at the other person or not look at them for a minute or what? Or when you're both waiting for the light at an intersection, but you're on opposite corners so you keep looking at each other but you're too far away to talk, and you're just standing there looking at each other for way too long?

Anyway, it was like that.

By the time I reached him, my brain had enough time to convince me that he might be insulted if I ask for help. What if he's one of those guys who thinks he can handle a simple thing like moving chairs? What if he'd never accept help from a girl because he's strong enough to do stuff like that by himself? Or what if he got the wrong message? What if he thought it was weird that I was talking to him? We don't know each other at all.

I gave him a sort of half smile when I got closer, and he nodded in acknowledgement (well, at that point we had both been staring at each other for at least two minutes, we might as well have acknowledged the fact), and then I walked passed him like a complete jerk, when he clearly could have used some help.

As soon as I walked passed, my gut instinct kicked in again (seconds too late - as always) and wiped away all the overthinking. "Get back there!" it said. "Help him!" But I felt too weird. The opportunity felt already missed.

And for the past two days, I have felt like a jerk. I wish I could apologize, but I have no idea who he is.

Things I learned from this experience:

1. My gut instinct is GOOD. It knows what it's talking about. Listen to it once in a while! (Or more often than that, if I really want to be smart.)

2. No matter if you know someone or not, always ask if someone looks like he/she needs help. Besides, you'd want help if it was you.

3. Don't overthink!

4. Don't overthink!

5. Don't overthink!

6. A missed opportunity will always remain missed. You can't go back. All you can hope for is another opportunity to make amends for the one you missed. And you only get those once in a while, if you're lucky. So take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, especially if it's one that allows you to be a nice person.

7. It's okay to talk to people who don't know you.

8. Being shy can sometimes come across as being cold, so don't be so shy all the time!

9. Stop thinking everything is weird. Just do what you feel is the right thing.

10. Call your apartment mates if you're stuck in the apartment and starving. They just might let you eat some of their food.

Anyway, if, by any miniscule chance, the guy in this post reads this blog - please accept my apologies for not helping you yesterday. I'm so sorry - I'm really not that much of a jerk. And I hope you were able to get the chairs to wherever they had to go!

...Do I get to stop feeling bad now?