How to be a Human.

Sunday September 09, 2012

On my run this morning I saw an older man drop all of his mail in the middle of a crosswalk. I was rounding the corner, sweaty and in the throws of urging myself not to lay down in some stranger's dog-piss covered grass, gasping for the sweet, sweet life nectar we call oxygen. He dropped all of his mail, and his hands were full. I saw it. And, something weird happened.

I hesitated.

"By the time I get to him he might have it all picked up... but what if he doesn't? I don't want to offend him. What if he's mean to me? I don't want to stop. I don't know this guy anyway."

And then it hit me.

"An old man dropped his stuff in the street under the blazing sun and I saw it. What kind of person am I if I don't TRY to help him?" (This internal dual-personality-on-my-shoulder conversation happened in the time it takes a hummingbird's heart to beat twice, mind you.) 

I immediately trotted over and collected the rest with him. He thanked me with a smile, I nodded and hopped back to my self-induced-torture-called-exercise. 

However, that 3 second interaction stuck with me all the way home. I didn't do anything extraordinary. At. All. But, the watermelon-slice-smile that man gave me when I handed him his papers filled my heart with the most important feeling -- a feeling I think our society is weeding out with every social-media-reality-television-whore-shaming-political-campaign-finger-pointing-allforthemoney-noise-- and that feeling is humanity. 

The more I thought about it, the more it bothered me that I hesitated. There are people who wouldn't have paused. But, there are also people that would have, and even continued running. In a big city like the bright-full-of-dreams city of Los Angeles you see the spectrum of heartbreaking kindness to heartbreaking selfishness every day. This morning it became clear to me what end of the spectrum I want to be on. 

By the time I got home, (and victoriously punched the air like Rocky I,) I didn't want to loose how that grateful watermelon smile made me feel. So, I made a simple list, directions if you will, of things easily forgotten, and even under appreciated, to remember as we enthusiastically connect to glowing screens posing as people. 


Hi, my name is Caitlyn, and I... am an actor.