~Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Random Act of Kindness

I had a good wallow for a couple of hours this evening. Appropriately, Last Holiday arrived in the mail and I watched Queen Latifa do everything right with what seemed like no return in life.

Afterwards, I drove to Blockbuster to return the movie and pick up another one. It was late for weekday hours, a little after 10 PM. Ahead of me in line was a nice looking black family: parents and a little girl no older than four. She had her hair in two little puffs on either side of her head. I was always jealous of little black girls' hair. I think it's the cutest thing ever with the braids and the barrettes or the puffs and ribbons. She was fussy and beginning to cry. Normally I get really irritated when children cry in public, but this was a cute cry. It was tired with not much threat behind it.

In her hand was one of my favorite movies, An American Tail. The mother gave the case to the Blockbuster clerk who noticed that there was no disc inside. The little girl figured it out and began to cry harder. The mother called to the father, "Go get Fievel Goes West! Quickly!" and he disappeared behind the shelves.

The man in front of me was called to the checkout and I moved to the front of the line. The little girl began to fuss harder until the mother took her back to the children's section. A minute later the little girl returns with tear-stained cheeks, but the unmistakable cover of Fievel Goes West is in her grip.

I bend down and look at her, "Did you find your movie?"

She begins to wail. The mother looked at me and whispered, "She knows it's not the original Fievel."

"What? Are you serious?"

The mother nodded. I looked to the crying girl, "But it's Fievel! Everyone loves Fievel Mousekewitz!"

The mother said a little less patiently, "Fievel is Fievel."

The girl, with puffs on either side of her head, cried harder.

I loved An American Tail growing up. When the movie came out I had a little red radio Walkman and I would drain the battery by leaving it on at night so I could hear "Somewhere Out There" one more time. As I began to quietly sing along to Linda Ronstadt, my brother would inevitably charge into my room and rip my red Walkman away. I still haven't completely forgiven him yet.

In the video store I knelt down and looked at the girl and began very quietly, "And even though I know how very far apart we are/ It helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star." She had to stop crying to hear what I was singing. I hit the next verse a little louder, "And when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby/ It helps to think we're sleeping underneath the same big sky."

It was somewhere around here that the rest of the people stopped to pay attention to me singing in a video store at 10 o'clock on a Wednesday night.

"Somewhere out there if love can see us through/ Then we'll be together somewhere out there/ Out where dreams come true."

Unfortunately, this did not have the desired effect. Somehow I think I envisioned her singing along and smiling and laughing, but it just made her miss her movie even more and cry harder. I'd like to think she wasn't wailing over the quality of my song. The mother, however, laughed and thanked me.

"Well it was my fault for making her cry the second time by bringing it up."

"She would have cried anyway."

And no, I didn't make that little girl smile, but I made myself smile. In hindsight, I think I sang the song more for myself than I did for the little girl.

And that little girl had a point, Fievel Goes West doesn't hold a candle to An American Tail.


Vince said...

That's the other cool thing I've learned - often a good deed really is it's own reward. :-)

Oh, and it's addictive. Or maybe I'm just compulsive by nature, and this is just another form. Hmmm...


general_boy said...

That speaks buckets about you Sarah, it truly does.

Certainly made me smile. =)

M said...

I soo WISH I had afro hair! I taught a little child a couple of years ago with the most beautiful hair and she always wore it in interesting ways (like 10 little puffs or something). My friend got a really tight perm a few years ago and ended up with hair very, very close to afro a few years ago (he's white and had straight hair). It was awesome! Of course, he was in a pseudo 70s funk band so he could afford to be a little 'quirky' in that respect!

Phil said...

Now that's a rainbow.

Sarah said...

Vince- I always thought that's what grown-ups say to make kids share their toys :)

General Boy- Perhaps the only reason you're smiling is because you didn't actually hear me sing :)

M- If I could fro my hair and wear it as two puffs, I would do it in an instant!

Phil- A self-serving one, but one nonetheless :)

Jen said...

Definitely random and definitely kind...which is why it made me smile.

Two Drink Girl said...

I kinda liked Fifel Goes West. It was the third and forth film that was crap, though.

Sarah said...

Jen- Yea!

TDG- I don't think I even saw the third one. I know I never saw the fourth one. You can't argue that the first one is the best though!

James said...

I'm not aware of either film, but I loved this post - and really enjoy your blog.

Take care.

Sarah said...

James, it is a very endearing story of Jewish Russian mice who immigrate to America during the great immigration of 1915. Wonderful story and animation.

I guess An American Tail doesn't mean the same in other countries ;)

curryangst said...

S - how cute! have you seen Pay it Forward? it's kind of a feel good movie - spread the love type storyline - about the addictive nature of doing good deeds. (nodding my head in agreement with vince :)

Trinity2 said...

That was beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

icklebubble said...

her mum should buy her the dvd.

Sarah said...

Curryangst- Yeah, I've seen it. Don't feel like I really did anything though. She still cried.

Trinity2- You're welcome!

icklebubble- I thought that too ;)

Sarah said...

Okay, I know I'm a few years late to comment... But I'm just catching up now!

I just HAD to comment on this one because I also loved an American Tale when I was a child and it's one of the songs I sing to my daughter when I put her to sleep.

I've never heard anyone refer to it before and I think I just melted a little. :)


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