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Icky Feeling Blessing

I was sitting in my car writing a note to the person who parked in the no-parking zone in our apartment complex when a man came out of his apartment heading straight for my car. He made eye contact and I knew he wanted to talk to me so I responded by rolling down my window. In a kind but firm way, he asked if I would do him a favor by not slamming down the lids on the dumpster which I thought I had closed quite gently. I expressed regret and asked if I had awakened him, even though it was the middle of the day. He said I hadn’t done that, but since I was hanging out in my car, he thought he would come out and mention to me how noisy it is for him in his apartment which is in fairly close proximity to the dumpster. We chatted a bit. I promised him I would be very careful from now on to put the lid down as gently as I possibly could. I asked him if he knew who the Lexus in the no-parking zone belonged to. He said he didn’t. I mentioned how these things are all about living in community. He went back to his apartment and I reached for the sticky note I had written to stick on the windshield of the delinquent Lexus.

As I reached for the note, I realized how icky I was feeling about the chastisement I had just received. There was no animosity whatsoever from the gentleman who spoke to me, but I still felt awful. Receiving words of rebuke or accusation doesn’t get any easier with age, even when it’s delivered with kindness! It’s not like I deliberately slammed the thing down because I knew it would disturb the people in the apartments across from it. I had no idea the space from the dumpster to the apartment acted like a tunnel causing the dumpster noise to reverberate inside the apartments. The neighbor stranger made it sound like it was a very irritating disturbance and I have no doubt he was telling the truth. These thoughts crowded my mind as I looked at the smily face I had sketched onto my own accusatory message for the Lexus driver. I crumpled the note and pushed it into my pocket.

Driving to my errand in town I was still feeling like my good-day balloon had been burst, but I smiled, thankful for the blessing of the neighbor stranger who prevented me from maybe bursting someone else’s good-day balloon.

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