Monday, March 31, 2008

I'm sorry, Mr. Green Van Man

Dear Mr. Green Van Man,

I saw you today on the 169 bridge, pulled over, getting your gas can out of the back. I noticed that the hat and jacket you wore, while certainly adequate for spring weather, was going to be little protection against the harsh elements of the blowing wet snow and icy winds. I saw you walking down the hill (very smart--I wouldn't have thought of that) and hoped that your footing stayed sure and that you didn't slip. I tried not to think about the long walk ahead of you.

I'm sorry I did not stop to give you a ride. Please know that I wanted to, and if it weren't for women I hear about on the news--women who stop to help someone out and end up as Jane Does in ditches or with their faces on the evening news as the most recent murder in the metro area--I would have. I would have given you a ride to the gas station, then driven you back to your van. Because that's the kind of person I am; I like to help out when I can, and when I can't it drives me crazy.

I'm sorry that people in our society have ruined "neighborly help." That there have been enough cases where bad has happened to eclipse the ability of good people like me and like many others who drove by you today not because they were rude, but out of a sense of self-preservation and fear. I feel very, very badly about this.

I hope that someone stopped and picked you up. I hope that you didn't fall on the hill. I hope that you don't get sick from being in the icky weather. And I hope that at some point people will stop taking good people and doing bad things to them. That last one won't happen, but I thought I'd throw it in there anyway.


jamais vu said...

He had a gas can in the back? Is that normal survival gear in MN? Or do you think maybe he's a dumbass that is so used to running out of gas he keeps a gas can in his car. Or maybe he keeps his slasher weapon in the gas can... I wouldn't have stopped either and i would've felt guilty about not stopping too. It sux that fear trumps compassion. Survival of the smartest though. Sounds like something Ted Bundy might've said.

Leah said...

I keep a gas can in my car... and I don't run out of gas often (it happened once when I was 16 but my gas guage also doesn't work).

But I feel EXACTLY the same way. I hate having to pass people by just because I'm a woman and don't feel like getting killed. I usually apologize out loud, quietly, to myself.

I also bought Duma Key and can't wait to start reading it.

Kelly said...

It's pretty standard MN fare, especially if you've ever run out of gas. I have a can in my garage...not that it does much good there...but it used to be in my car back when I was putting $5 in my tank when I happened to have $5. Of course now that would get me about six drops of gasoline, but I digress.

Glad I'm not the only woman who feels both afraid and apologetic!!

And, Leah, can't wait to hear your thoughts on Duma!