Today, when coming in from lunch, a good friend and co-worker came in, visibly crying, and distressed.
Concerned, I failed to notice a bandage around the forearm near their elbow.
Walking back to my desk (which is on the way to her desk), they began to tell me about how their first attempt to give blood resulted in the discovery that they can't due to small veins. This distressed them to the point of emotional breakdown.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am renowned far and wide for my inability to summon compassion for my fellow faceless man. My friends are my friends, and I will be there for them in any way I can. But otherwise, I have always felt that people in their natural form are cruel, mean, selfish animals.
My form of giving to people has been to help the ones that are trying to get extract themselves out of a given situation. "Teach a man to fish" rather than "Give a man a fish", if you will.
So to have someone in my office/cubicle crying because they were unable to help random faceless people was an odd and enlightening experience. It expressed an intense desire to better their surroundings, and not in a focused, visible way.
I suppose it is in matching with this person's giving nature. I tend to want to invest in people, to see my time spent well and things to come to fruition.
In Santa Barbara, people give in such dispassionate ways: recycling, volunteering for animal causes, putting political bumper stickers on their car, etc.
I guess this is my first collision with someone who genuinely cares about such things with passion up here.
It actually stopped me and gave me a moment of introspection. How odd.