Last night we stayed up drinking gin and eating cheese with good friends of ours, that we hadn’t seen since July. I didn’t think I’d had much (a glass of gin, a beer, and a cider) but perhaps that pernicious mixture, along with eating an entire plate of cheese, had some consequences. I felt ok in the morning, and more and more shabby as the day went on.
This afternoon, helping out distribute food to some of the homeless in the south of Seattle, I heard the sound of an engine revving and a grinding noise. A beat up Volvo estate (shattered windows replaced with plastic sheeting) pulled up. I thought it just had a bust exhaust manifold, but then saw the reason for the grinding noise was there was no tyre on the rear left wheel.
Somebody got out, asking for us to give her a lift, offering to pay for the gas to get her to either Burien or Georgetown. Her ex boyfriend had stolen her tyre and she had a spare at a relative’s house.Nobody was particularly keen, and after a few minutes she said "god bless you all" (which I’ve never understood whether it’s an insult or a encouragement in this country); she got back in the car and it sped off again.
What if the car had crashed? Would there be some sign of moral failing that we hadn’t helped? Is there any duty in a pandemic to give a stranger a lift? Was the ex boyfriend real, or a scam? (It felt sketchy to me, but it’s hard to be sure of anything.) How does one define boundaries in a situation like that?
I went home and took my car to charge. Perhaps as judgement for not being charitable, the dashboard showed up an amber light saying there’s an issue with the electric vehicle system, and now I have to take it to the dealer to get that remedied. So, an interesting day…