I was talking to my roommate once about relationships and city living awhile back. It’s an interesting dynamic to live and work in the same five mile radius, because everything you know and everything you experience is walking distance away. But when things go wrong, something’s gotta give a little. We were talking about how far you are pushed before your personal life becomes public knowledge, because all of a sudden you’re standing on a street corner releasing anger and pent up emotions that have very little to do with the current situation and a great deal to do with the overall big picture relationship. She’s done it once.
I can now claim the same statistic.
It was late Monday night. Plans I thought were set weren’t in the end and the slow boil began to happen. Mistake number one was not going home and agreeing to meet out in DTLA instead. Mistake number two was not simply saying I’m upset because of X, and so let’s get that out of the way. Mistake number three was incorporating a couple of beers into the equation. The result? A little street argument somewhere between 6th and 7th along Spring St.
I think I had an out of body experience on this one, though. It was one of those moments where my head kept saying “stop this…this isn’t healthy or productive…let’s just take a step away and part for a little while before someone says something they will regret.” Unfortunately, my heated Latina ways had control at the time, and so it was on.
In the middle of our argument, a man in a wheelchair came over and said hi. I thought it odd simply because he approached two people who were obviously very unhappy with each other and in the middle of something fairly personal in nature. However, the man smiled brightly and said, “So, have you been invited somewhere for Thanksgiving dinner yet?” We both said yes, thank you, and tried to end the conversation there. But the man persisted. “Here, there’s this event in Santa Monica on Thursday you should come to if you don’t have plans. It will be fun. Plus, Santa Monica has changed a lot over the years. They’re a lot nicer out there now.”
I took the flyer from him. We thanked him and went on our way down the street a little. While I’m not sure that conversational diversion was what eventually ended our argument and prompted us to put our differences aside for a little while or not, it was a nice little reminder for a moment that maybe things aren’t as extreme as they feel.
Today I finally looked at the flyer I put in my jacket pocket that night. “Hug with Me” is the program being hosted by United Steps, which is a non-profit organization “that is changing the world” and “offers time, encouragement, and respect as solutions to ending homelessness.” They are offering 2,000 hugs “to the people on the streets” as a reminder of “how a simple hug from a stranger can elicit hope, inspiration, and comfort.” It’s a beautiful thought that something so simple as showing another person respect and understanding can go a long way.
It also reminded me that maybe I need to step back and remember how lucky I am that I have a roof over my head, food on my table, friends who love me, and even someone I care enough about to get angry at from time to time and who still makes me smile when I’m in the throes of an unnecessary battle of wills.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. No matter what has happened over this year or the last, I know that I have a lot to be thankful for. With that I send love and Thanksgiving cheer to all of my friends, family, and loved ones as we keep going along in this life together trying to find our way. I am thankful that I have so many wonderful people by my side willing and trying to help me through every struggle and experiencing every joy this life has to offer.
“This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.”