The Beleaguered Woman Who Actually Wants to Watch Dances With Wolves
It's a well-accepted fact that trying to hit wolves with Milk Duds in an almost-empty movie theater is a great, constructive activity for high school students, strengthening both hand-eye coordination and hysterical-giggling muscles. But in retrospect (that movie reference didn't date me, did it?), the person who kicked those Milk-Dud Mickey Mantles out of the theater wasn't merely being a total buzz-kill. I still remember the worried-looking older woman who had summoned the usher. She looked not angry but disappointed, and unsettlingly like my own grandmother. Although my rabble-rousing friend whispered, "Jerk," I knew in that moment that we were, in fact, the jerks, that this person was a student teacher of sorts, introducing the mind-altering concept that even though we were teenagers, that was still no excuse to be a jerk. And it stands—even though you're 22, even though you're 97, even though you're distracted by your friends or a guy or your kids—that's no excuse to be a jerk.
5. The Elevator Genius
Eavesdropping is, to my mind, a crucial life skill, and one that might lead to learning even more crucial life skills. Listen up, because over the span of an elevator ride, you can learn how to detect a gas leak, check for skin cancer or use flavors in your Sodastream—potential lifesavers, all.
6. The Buddha in Spandex
Let's take a moment to raise a glass (or, you know, a sports bottle of electrolyte drink) to the bicyclist with an extra inner tube who stops to patiently help you change a flat tire with a hand pump during a race, despite a ticking clock; just that small act of generosity can put an end to your stressy tears and remind you to breathe deeply, to accept it; and that, after all, there will be other races—even ones where you might get a chance to pay this favor forward.
7. The Distracted Registrar
There are at least two extra (very adorable) humans in the world, thanks to some kind-hearted-or-possibly-negligent registrar at the University of Iowa. Which is to say, I once met a boy in a class that was full, but which he somehow managed to weasel himself into the second week of the semester, during which we made goo-goo eyes and sophomoric, pop-culture references at each other. We eventually got married and the rest is history. (Or anyway, that's how we explain procreation to our two toddlers.)
8. The Recent Grad with the Grande Iced, Soy Mocha
Maybe you started off annoyed at the loud, giddy voice of the recent grad chatting so loudly on her cell phone in Starbucks. But listen to what she's saying: How excited she is to land her first job, to go to free concerts, to put tapestries on the walls of her sublet apartment. Now take a minute to remember what that actually felt like, and maybe, just maybe, you'll get inspired to get some of that giddiness back in your life.
9. The Fashionista in Flip-Flops
Thank you, superstylish woman in the busy office lobby discreetly swapping her flats for heart-stoppingly-high heels, for showing me the secret to coming to work in killer shoes. I thought I was the only one who had feet with feelings.
Next: 10 insanely nice things you can say to anyone
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