Megan here.* No one asks Alicia or me about the good stories from the road. About people being kind to us, opening up their homes, buying us a drink, offering up local knowledge or insider dating advice. Everyone wants to hear our horror stories: the insulting accordion player in Ohio or the Virginian who welcomed us to America when he saw our California license plates. People want the salacious details of American’s acting outside our societal compact to one another. They’d just as soon forgo the woman who gave us tomatoes from her farm-stand in Kentucky because we looked hungry, or the hundreds of people who donated to our Kickstarter.
And when people don’t ask, you sometimes forget to tell those stories about the good ones.
The lesson I learned most from the whole road trip (yes, more then any piece of dating advice even) is that 98.5% of all Americans are incredibly kind, and that nearly no one outside of the Chicken Soup for the Soul audience gives a darn. “Americans are the heroes, and this will never sell,” was a catchall phrase we developed for whenever we had an unexpected brush with humanity or when we were brushed off when we tried to tell the altruistic story. The moments that meant the most to me were the ones least likely to be marketable or commercial.
But I don’t think that means they shouldn’t be told. So, I’m telling ’em. Be warned, anytime you see an post starting with “Americans Are the Heroes…,” be prepared for a little sap.
With that in mind, here’s one from Seattle:
The woman was standing next to me on the dock, staring at the same boat I was. It was more a mini-yacht than anything, a dramatic teak trim around each of the portholes and white lines dashed down its hull. The sun was shining, which in Seattle was enough of a conversation starter to get us going. One thing led to another, and the chat slowly turned to why I was standing solo on a pier in Kirkland with a camera at 11am. Joan was instantly interested in our project: where we were going, when we’d be there, and if there was anything she could do to help. I said the thing we needed most was places to stay, as besides gas, housing was our biggest expense. Two days later I received a list of every person she knew who may be able to put us up based on our itinerary. It was not a list made with little effort. I was flabbergasted that a woman who I had met for such a brief time had done so much.
To this day, I want to know what prompted it, if anything at all.
*Due to Alicia recovering from surgery these next few weeks, you all are going to be hanging out with me, Megan. So be prepared for my musings on the trip, dating, Alicia, and everything. And though, if I had my rather, I would exist entirely in a Princess Bride/Doctor Who mash up universe, perhaps I can entertain you until Alicia’s triumphant return. – MP