December 1, 2016 7:00 AM
I had just pulled into a primo site I knew about outside of Cottonwood, AZ. A site I’ve used many times before. It’s flat and level. It has a nice shade tree and someone has taken the time (a lot of time by the looks of it) laying out boundary rocks all along the edges. Fast internet too. Close to town. Lots of privacy. Everything I look for in a dispersed camping site.
Just as I stepped outside to re-admire the place, to admire the work someone had put into it, I see this old, beat-up clunker of a vehicle pull into a spot a little further up the road—a lousy spot, a horrible spot, a spot I wouldn’t think twice about passing up—and I thought, “Anyone driving a heap like that must be very down on their luck.”
And I looked at my primo site. And I looked at my (relatively) new van. And I got in the driver’s seat and started Serenity up and I beeped my horn and flashed my lights to signal “It’s all yours!” as I pulled out of my primo site and headed off down the road to a back-up site I knew of about a mile away.
And as I drove down that bumpy road, I realized I felt good. I felt very good.
Two days later, after my lithotripsy procedure and out of a sense of curiosity, I pulled down the road to see if my down-and-out nomad had accepted my offer and, to my surprise, there were a couple of day-trippers hanging out there and smoking some weed in my primo camp while my nomad friend had remained in his lousy, miserable, totally undesirable camp!
More curious than ever, I headed over to the down and out camper and introduced myself. He told me his name was Charles and he said he had understood that I had wanted him to have that spot—the primo spot which he knew very well—but he liked to stay in one place for awhile and didn’t want to “take it up” and I was impressed—a man who thinks more of others than of himself.
So I asked him if he needed anything and he said he didn’t, but I looked at his truck and I dug through my van and gave him my (relatively) new battery charger, a charger I rarely used—and it certainly looked like his rig could use it more than mine—and he thanked me, and he was grateful, and he said his generator would run it just fine.
And I felt good.
And he felt good.
And I wondered—if it feels so good, why aren’t we always nice to each other? Why aren’t we nicer to each other more often?
It feels so good to be nice.
Such a simple thing.
And yet, it’s still a rarity.
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