We’re not sure how many of you will remember this old television show. It was East Coast-centric but the central theme still holds: there are millions of people living in our Naked Cities (and suburban towns), almost all of them with a story to tell.
We come into contact with a lot of them, naturally, it being the nature of our biz and all. Some are heartbreaking, many are heart-lifting. We try to take them all in stride because, cumulatively, the stories can burn you out.
Tongues are wagging in Moraga about a “transient” woman who has been spotted camping in various parts of town, to the chagrin of some and concern of others, depending on disposition.
Turns out she happens to be the daughter of a local neighbor, banned from the household after an unsettling incident and legally restrained from returning though, it appears, unable to venture far from home. So, she wanders, sleeping rough and apparently coming into occasional contact with unknowing civilians or the police, on the move but unable to leave the tracts of million dollar plus homes where she grew up.
Makes you think. At least, it makes us think.
Then there’s the woman who called officials recently asking for help in locating her parents – Samaritans looking into her case learning her parents and other family members had been whittled down and finally passed long ago, that the caller lived alone, and that neighbors suspected she was losing a tenuous hold on reality.
Steps were taken to assess her condition and get her the help she apparently needed.
We’ve also been hearing from Uber and Lyft drivers of late, modern manifestations of the Nighthawk taxi drivers who roamed city streets in the 40s and 50s – and have heard stories about rude or aggressive or litigious customers comfortable with doing all manner of things in the back seat of a driver’s private car – some of which are better left unwritten. Let’s just say the drivers ask a pretty hefty fee for a “Bio Spill,” even if you are the CEO of your own software company.
Along with the transgressions, tales of the over-indulged and the self-absorbed, we also hear some nice stories of folks doing right by others from time to time.
One of those involved a tottery old veteran, well into his 90s and wearing the blue cap emblazoned with the name of a long scrapped ship and battles most people have never even heard of, in the checkout line of a local grocery store, painstakingly placing his bottles of Ensure and the other trappings we need when we get old on the conveyor.
When it was the old charger’s turn to pay the checker looked at him with full eyes and said simply: “It’s been taken care of,” and smiled, unwilling to reveal who in the queue behind them had stepped in to help settle the country’s debt to a battle-tested son.
Then, in the manner of those who came before us, the senior tipped his hat to the checker and those behind him, picked up his purchases and went on his way – left with his memories and leaving us grateful for the story.
It’s nice to hear a good one from time to time. There are so many out there.