Times Like These
We’ve all been told to socially distance, to keep safe and stay home and I totally agree, I really do. But sometimes we can’t stay at home. Whether we’re key workers or we are going to the shops, some of us have to go out some of the time.
Last week because my car had been left so long, it wouldn’t start. It’s a big Volvo four wheel drive so there was no hope of pushing it or jump starting it from our other car, which is a Smart Car - perfectly formed but little! We were embarrassed, I guess, that it had happened and didn’t want to draw attention to ourselves or annoy our neighbours with the noise. A couple of nights before the alarm had gone off - it must have been going flat then and we didn’t want to disturb them anymore. So as we do, we kept to ourselves, bought a new battery and kept quiet.
A few days later I was just getting ready to go to work when our next door neighbour came past. We’ve lived next door to each other for nineteen years now and are quite chatty, but aren’t the sort of neighbours that are in each others pockets so to speak. He’d been to take his in-laws a newspaper, and we chatted for a bit from a distance. We’re both shopping for family and our children are a similar age, so we have a fair bit in common. Then I mentioned to him about the flat battery on my car. I expected him to already know. Little gets past out neighbours but he didn’t and immediately told me that if I needed it, he could always jump start the car for me. He told me he’d already had to do it for our neighbour who lives opposite, and I didn’t know about that. So there I am worrying about disturbing others, without really knowing what is going on!
This morning my eldest son Joe came back into the house after leaving to go to work. I heard him going up the stairs to Barn’s room and jumped up to tell him to be quiet as I didn’t want him waking up Stanley. Joe had been hoping Barn was awake as he now had a flat battery too and was hoping for a hand to push his car. I said I’d do it to save disturbing the others, as they were all still asleep, and their Dad had already gone to work. Two houses down from us we have a little hill and I knew if we could get the car there Joe could roll start it. His car is far lighter than mine, so we pushed, got it over the speed bump and to the corner, where luckily we could see the hill was clear. Joe jumped in and off he went. He had just turned around and was coming back up the hill when our neighbour came out. He had seen our trouble and wanted to help. I don’t like to ask for help and I don’t like to bother people, and yet they are there, still offering to help. It’s nice normally, but is especially welcome right now.
Sometimes it feels like others turn a blind eye, ignoring the struggles of others, as long as it doesn’t affect them, but it’s refreshing to see people now (not just my neighbour) offering genuine help without wanting anything in return. I suppose, times like this help us to see who is really there for us when we need them. It isn’t always just those we expect.
Thanks for reading.