October 13, 2005:

The friendliness of just one person makes so much difference.

Kind voice on the phone raises my spirits, so that I'm more willing to make the effort to do what I need to do to have fun.

I regret all the more an experience long ago, when I was unfriendly to someone who needed help. Tourist, French, college age. Tired, a little lost-looking, a little isolated: his English was weak, his shoulders drooped, his body language indicated depression. All he wanted was help, but instead he found me, at a period in my life which was dominated by anger, and a kind of resentful egocentricity, as if I went around thinking, this is all beneath me. I saw that he needed help, and instead of giving I withheld it, consciously, wishing he would leave, angry at him for nothing that ever he'd done. I was so mean that I watched him drop money on the floor, and instead of pointing it out to him, I waited until he was gone and kept it for myself, forty dollars, like I thought it was a present from god. What a shitty thing to have done.

What does this mean to me now?

Nothing, really. Only that sometimes, in some part of my heart I feel that I deserve it when people are unkind or unhelpful to me, in this circumstance, a far foreign land with no language in common. Or that I don't deserve it, and am all the more grateful, when people, far more often, are generous and kind.