Birthday Report
The Wisdom of Oliver Sacks

The Good and the Bad

I have been struck by both acts of meanness and acts of kindness shown during our snow-filled winter.

In Boston, where parking spaces on the street are at a premium, if you dig out a parking space and put a chair or other object in that space, you’ve reserved it, and people know to look elsewhere or shovel out their own space.  But when someone parked in one chair-held space, the original digger-outer replaced the snow burying the car that had taken “his” spot. 

An apparently angrier person stole the license plates from the car that parked in a space he believed was his even though there was no “chair” marking the spot.

When I was in a crowded grocery store parking lot on the day a storm was fast approaching, I waited patiently while a woman pulled out of a space.  When she did, someone else came around the corner and grabbed the spot I was waiting for.  And that happened twice.  Talk about lack of civility!

Contrast that to friends who insisted on driving us to a concert on a bitterly cold evening last week.  When they dropped us at home, our across-the-street young neighbor was shoveling out the drain on the street in front of his house so that the expected thaw wouldn’t flood the street forcing water into his basement.  When he finished his own drain, he insisted on shoveling out our drain that was covered by five feet of snowplow-compacted snow…at ten o’clock at night when the wind-chilled temperature was below zero. 

Like I said, the storm brings out the good and the bad in people.


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