Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Stars!

Christmas is a time for helping others, so let's take a moment to publicly celebrate four good (nay, GREAT) samaritans on a blog that nobody reads.  Er, that some people read.  Maybe one of my fantastic four will stumble across this blog, see their good deed recognized, and bask in their own self-satisfaction.  Or, maybe they were all actual angels and I'm currently living within a Christmas movie.  Oh man!

* Kudos to the couple who gave my girlfriend and I their parking slip while they were leaving the lot on Friday night, allowing us to park for free.  This couple had paid the evening rate and still had several hours left, yet stopped us as we were approaching their vacated spot to hand over their pass.  How nice!  They said they were swayed by the big, floppy Blue Jays winter hat I was wearing, as they had the same toque-with-earflaps back at home.  Once again, attending a giveaway day at the ballpark pays off. 

In giving us their pass, this couple saved us a few bucks and (more importantly) gave us a good parking spot close to the venue, given that it was freaking 20 below last Friday.  My girlfriend and I only had to walk less than a block to our destination --- Long Winter, an art/music/video event that's basically a hipster's paradise.  The highlights of the evening included two really good bands, a talk show guested by Ben Johnson (?), two okay bands that were respectively plagued by a poor singer and too much amp feedback, and one "band" was really a performance art troupe and probably the most pretentious thing I've seen since I stopped reading Pitchfork reviews.

* Kudos to my neighbour for lending me his spare snow shovel.  It usually doesn't snow when the temperatures drop into the -20 Celsius range but that didn't stop Old Man Winter from dropping a foot of snow on Saturday, leaving me with some shovelling work on Sunday morning.  While there was a lot of snow, at least it was the light variety, so it wasn't too hard a job…with a good shovel, that is.  I'm not sure how this happened, but our house shovel that I used last winter had somehow vanished over the course of 12 months, leaving me with just this metal thing that looked like an oversized garden spade.

Shoveling with this disaster was going to be an issue, so I appealed to the fellow across the street, who was about 90% of the way through his own driveway.  I asked if I could borrow his shovels when he was through, yet he did me one better by pointing out a spare in his yard, and gave me free reign.  This shovel was, with only minor hyperbole, the greatest snow shovel in human history.  It was sturdy, cut right through the snow, could easily heft large amounts, and…..well, it's pretty clear that my rave review is inspired by my relief over not having to use David Spade, but still, it was a pretty quality shovel.  Had the whole thing done in 30 minutes and still had more than enough time to shower and change the garbage before afternoon football began.  What a manly hour for Mark!  Had it not been for the kind fellow across the road (who, I should note, I've never spoken to, or even seen, before), that job would've taken me easily…uh, an extra 10-15 minutes.

* Kudos to the fellow who helped my girlfriend and I load a dishwasher off a van.  The girlfriend had bought a portable dishwasher and we'd needed to rent a U-Haul van to get the thing from Etobicoke back to her downtown apartment, as the dishwasher was naturally too big to fit into the backseat of my Hyundai.  (Note: we naively assumed it could for our first trip out there.  #UniversityGraduates)  Anyway, we got the dishwasher back to her place and parked the van in front of her building, only to be faced with one more issue we didn't think through --- how to get the dishwasher from the van to the ground.  The fellow who sold us the dishwasher had helped us lift the thing in, yet here we were on our own now, trying to figure out how to maneuver an awkward, 100-pound machine down a couple of feet to the pavement.

Once again, we had to appeal to the kindness of strangers.  An older couple in their sixties happened into the apartment at that moment, and we asked if they wouldn't mind lending a hand.  The wife immediately demurred, saying that her husband had a bad knee and couldn't assist in the lifting, but they were visiting their daughter in the building and she'd be likely to help.  So they went upstairs and we cooled our jets, hoping that the daughter was a modern-day Jennifer Walters.

Imagine our surprise when the old guy himself came back, pooh-poohing the knee injury and offering to help.  Sure enough, the three of us were easily able to lift the washer down and into the lobby, and thank god the dishwasher had wheels so the rest was easy.  All the while, the tough old bird is telling us that he'd only tweaked his knee a couple of months ago and his wife was just being cautious, but he could handle himself.  A man helping us in defiance of his own marriage!  What courage.  I really hope the guy didn't get onto the elevator and immediately collapse in tremendous pain.  If this old fellow is reading this, they're doing incredible things with knee rehab these days, just ask Kobe Bryant.  

So thanks to these three good deeds, I'm obligated to perform nine good deeds under the Pay It Forward model.  If you're an old lady who needs help crossing a street, I'll be there.  If your cat gets stuck in a tree, I will throw snowballs at branches in an attempt to knock the cat off, then I'll quickly run and catch him before it hits the ground (or, I'll peg the cat in midair with another snowball, knocking it into a snowbank and giving it a soft landing).  If you're buying a dishwasher yourself and need help lifting it a few feet, I won't help since that job is a real pain, but I'll hold the door open for you.  I'm a great guy!

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