There are days when I don't even want to read the newspaper. Thankfully I don't have cable TV so I miss most of the noise from CNN and other news networks. However, I do see/read/skip over a lot of news/magazines online - I enjoy The Atlantic and The Guardian the most. So I do keep up on current events and the local newspaper keeps me informed with what's going on in my city and surrounding area.
My morning follows a routine which involves on reading the paper and then going to read the headlines at The Guardian mostly to see if the nuclear red button has been pushed yet. That's my main worry about the state of the world these days. It takes me back to my childhood and scary times in 1962 - The Cuban Missile Crisis and the escalation of creating nuclear war heads by Russia and the U.S. I was only 6 years old in 1962 but I clearly remember the drills at school (like squatting under my desk was really going to save me!) and I remember being terrified of THE BOMB and the total annihilation that it represented.
It is not within my power to make any relevant changes in the current political landscape but like most of the world's population I wish I could do something to help. Recently I've had two opportunities to reach out to strangers - one I failed at and one that I hope was helpful.
Both times I was riding my bike. A couple of weeks ago I was riding down Cheapside St. and saw a woman staggering along the sidewalk. I did what I usually do - I kept going. Then I thought I should have checked in with her to make sure she was ok. I rode back but couldn't find her. I checked all around the shrubbery and side streets etc but no sign. My hope is that she lived nearby and had made it safely home. It was only a matter of two minutes before I turned around and she couldn't have disappeared into thin air. I still feel bad that my first reaction was to ignore rather than to respond with compassion.
The second incident happened yesterday while again riding my bike. (I see a lot more riding my bike than I do driving my car!) I saw a man laying down beside a street. In fact his legs extended into the street. I circled back and approached him cautiously. I asked him if he was ok several times before he started to come around. I asked him a bunch of questions - he said his name was Jesse and he lived in public housing across the street. He said he'd been to the bank and coming back he fell asleep. I tried to set judgment aside and when he said how grateful he was that I had checked on him I said we're all human beings. I had him stand up for a couple minutes to see how steady he was and then I watched as he walked over to his home.
At no moment did I feel unsafe. Obviously there will be situations that I would report to police rather than involve myself in and will follow my gut instinct. But I hope I will never again turn my head and look the other way. I have myself been on the receiving end of help from strangers more than once and it meant so much to me.