Be caring, patient and tollerant, yet have the sense to react to anything in an appropriate, progressive fashion (one that helps promote respect and change and doesn't promote frustration) (read all 3 entries…)
Free Hugs

I had a wonderfully lazy new years day when I stayed the night at my friends house and lounged around the next morning-afternoon listening to Janis Joplin and looking out the window watching birds fly over the city. I made yerba maté for my friend and her massage study buddy and left – not rushing my pace, I was allowing the day to guide me. I meandered over the bus stop that would take me downtown. A bus came shortly and, once downtown, distracted, I got off at the stop before the one that I had intended to, but then quickly hopped back on the bus. We rode by a man with an umbrella that was being held up by a big sign that said “Free Hugs”. I was bummed that I had hopped back on the bus, but the next stop came shortly. I back-tracked to the one giving free hugs. He was a good hugger, and I wished that I could relax more, let go and enjoy the hug – but he was still a stranger. Next time…
Recharged, I turned back around and headed to my bus stop. Walking by the crowd of people waiting, I noticed a beautiful, young woman being talked to by an ugly, old, drunken man. I decided that my spot was next to the woman. I had seen the man at this bus stop before, and he seemed relatively harmless, just dealt an unfortunate hand in life and decided to handle it by constantly drinking himself into a stupor. The woman’s uneasiness was thick and highly perceptible, yet I could see that she intended to remain passive. I allowed her to know I was there for her. Maybe to give her strength. Then the man reaches a hand out to her face, trying to brush some of her hair away. I spoke out “Hey, man! Do you even know her? It’s awfully presumptuous to think that she wants to be touched.” He came over to me and mumbled something, slightly irritated, slightly surprised to have been caught. I asked him to be respectful of those around him. Respect. Respect. I made a gesture with my hands level at my heart. More mumbles. I shook his hand. He started to say something about what about respect for the Native Americans. I couldn’t answer. Neither of us knew what to say. I shook his hand one more time, and crossed my arms and turned away. He wandered to another part of the crowd.
The woman was still strangely passive and it wasn’t until I spoke to her that she thanked me. She had been a customer at the lavender booth I work at. She told me that she was afraid the man might have turned violent if she had done anything.
My bus came. “Goodbye, sister” I said to her as I gathered my stuff. She smiled meekly.
I felt strong and slightly heroic. I just didn’t think I had given her strength for the future.


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