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Today I noticed a small hand waving.

Approaching Adams Avenue from 805 south this afternoon, traffic suddenly slowed. Cars darted out of my lane but a large black Ford blocked my view. The squeaky brakes of empty school buses and semis joined the chorus of horns.

As the truck switched lanes I saw the problem. An old dark green Buick was stalled in the center lane. Water poured from underneath the engine like a scared puppy peeing. The emergency flashers blinked weakly. A woman frantically tried restarting the car. Once. Twice. Again. It only shuddered and stalled.

I turned on my flashers as I reached for my cellphone. That’s when I saw the small hand. It belonged to a young girl in the backseat waving at me. She beamed a huge smile.

All I could imagine was her mother’s panic. The only option was getting the car off the freeway. Leaving it was sure suicide. Every terrible movie in which bad things happen to good people flashed through my mind. Imaging a worst case scenario of fiery explosions I could almost hear the screams.

Several impatient moments passed before a semi truck pulled up. He angled his truck blocking our lane and the one beside it. Flashing every light and blowing his horn, he stuck is very un-small hand out his window and waved me on. I drove away knowing she would be okay, vowing to be even kinder to truck drivers everywhere, and waved back. 9-1-1 never answered.


Today while hiking in Mission Gorge I noticed how green the grasses, shrubs and trees are. In a large puddle on a well-used trail, handfuls of tadpoles swam from one edge to another. I wondered how long the water would last and whether the tadpoles would have a chance to survive. It did not immediately occur to me to wonder how they had gotten there in the first place. The puddle wasn’t near any other water, nor did I see any frogs nearby. And even if they were able to mature, where would they go once the water dried up? It may be the perfect opportunity for a tadpole rescue mission.

Today I noticed the dumpster near the liquor store, filled with flowers. Withering and fading, they had been skimmed from the buckets of the parking lot flower stand, and tossed.
The two guys who work the stand arrive before 6 a.m., often staying through the day and well into the evening. When it’s slow they watch soccer or baseball in Spanish on a small tv.
It seemed like such a tragic waste their flowers would end up in the dumpster but at least one homeless man I saw was delighted with the discovery.