Today is the first day in a long time that I felt useful. I have been in Scotland for over a month now, and while I am loving my time here (minus the undergrads), I have not really felt like I have contributed anything to the space that I am inhabiting. This morning I woke up early to chat with the love of my life, and schleped myself to the education building for my 9 am class and spent all day cooped up inside. I was feeling grumbley and sour walking home until I was stopped by a woman outside the office building by the dorms. She was in a panic because she couldn’t find her wallet. She wanted to know if I had seen anything on my walk up the hill and she was fretting about how she was going to get home. Scotland is a city of public transportation. If people don’t walk, they take the bus. The bus only takes a bus pass or exact change. She kept apologizing to me for holding me up, but I know how I would feel in the situation, so I didn’t feel the least bit bad about trying to help her.
Those who know me really well know that I do not carry cash. I just carry my ATM card. The thing about money here, is that until I put cash in my Scotland account, it is really expensive for me to use my American card everywhere. Last week I pulled out some cash to have on hand for things like a quick snack or lunch, and as it happened I had enough money for a one-way on the bus, so I offered it to her. She apologized several times for stopping me and asking, and told me that was not the reason that she stopped me, but I told her I hopped it would be enough and not to think twice about it. She looked like someone’s mom. She also looked like the type of woman that would always have juice boxes and snacks on hand for play dates and she probably walks her kids to school every morning before catching the bus to work. Before she ran to catch the bus, she promised that she that when she got everything sorted she would drop money into the charity box of my choice to repay the kindness. At first I told her she could pick, but then I told her to drop it into something education related.
I know it seems silly that £2 could make me feel useful, but knowing that the woman was able to make it home made me feel better. I’m sure cancelling all of her cards and getting new sets of everything will be a pain in the ass, so I am hoping that not having to spend hours trying to figure out how to get home made it a little less stressful. I also hope that someone would do the same for my mommy if she were in the same situation.
Maybe I should spend less time cooped up in class or in the library with my nose in a book, or maybe I should spend some more time volunteering or being more useful, but for now, I will just feel good knowing that I finished the walk home in a better mood than when I started.