the smell of my desperation has become a stench

A must read

“The Cab Ride I’ll Never Forget” by Kent Nerburn

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

The last three paragraphs just about killed me. If you read only one thing this week let it be this.

Opening comments because this might spark some discussion.

(via MeFi)

  • Phoebe

    2008/09/29 at 2:23 pm

    yay dooce!! top ten!! you’re amazing!!

  • Kirstin

    2008/09/29 at 2:21 pm

    no way i’m in the top 10. love the link, dooce.

  • Katie

    2008/09/29 at 2:20 pm

    I made the mistake of reading this while PMS-ing a week or so ago…holy shit cryfest! It’s a beautiful story though, for sure.

  • Ilana

    2008/09/29 at 2:23 pm

    Thank you for sharing this…I have seen it before, but I really think I was overdue to read it again.

  • kathy

    2008/09/29 at 2:24 pm

    cryfest, for sure. but worth every tear.

  • Carly

    2008/09/29 at 2:24 pm

    My eyes may not be dry for a while now. Thanks for the link though.

  • Jenica

    2008/09/29 at 2:24 pm

    That was absolutely lovely. You never know what’s going to happen after the moment when you make a decision — even if it’s a decision as small as whether or not to go to the door and knock. It’s a good reminder to be the person you want to be in every moment, not just the convenient ones.

  • Leslie

    2008/09/29 at 2:24 pm

    What a beautiful vignette. . .one that I’ll remember for a long time.

  • D

    2008/09/29 at 2:24 pm

    I aspire to be like that cab driver.

  • Megan

    2008/09/29 at 2:24 pm

    How lovely. And true.

  • Mcbooty

    2008/09/29 at 2:24 pm

    My co workers must think I am crazy…sobbing at the computer. thanks hahaha

  • Big Hair Envy

    2008/09/29 at 2:25 pm

    Thanks Dooce. I needed a good cry after such a crappy weekend. No discussion from me….I’m savoring the story in the recesses of my mind.

  • Ainsley

    2008/09/29 at 2:25 pm

    Ok, read it. Crying. Am sharing with my ninth grade students tomorrow, first thing.

  • Tuesday

    2008/09/29 at 2:26 pm

    beautiful. Sometimes if we just stop, the beauty is right there before us.

    But we have to stop first.

  • kcbelles

    2008/09/29 at 2:26 pm

    must be some sort of traffic jam, ‘cuz I keep trying, but it won’t load up.

  • Emma

    2008/09/29 at 2:27 pm

    I really enjoyed it – thank you for posting.

  • misshoax

    2008/09/29 at 2:27 pm

    crying at my desk.

    totally worth it.

  • Amy

    2008/09/29 at 2:27 pm

    Wow, I’m a crybaby!

  • Val

    2008/09/29 at 2:27 pm

    In this time of economic turmoil it’s nice to read something that isn’t about bailouts, sub primes or the new “depression”. Sometimes we forget that life should be about family, friends and helping others. A lovely story.

  • Tai

    2008/09/29 at 2:27 pm

    I needed that. Thanks.

  • darcie

    2008/09/29 at 2:27 pm

    …had to stop reading this. intestines already jumbled, eyes too teary…not even halfway finished. the stories that you know how they end? the best and worst, those ones.

  • Christina

    2008/09/29 at 2:27 pm

    oh my…talk about a good cry…a box of kleenex later….

  • memphislis

    2008/09/29 at 2:28 pm

    Even on my worst day, I could be someone’s best hope. My motto. I’m a teacher too, and I might share this with my 6th graders.

  • Micaela

    2008/09/29 at 2:28 pm

    That was lovely.
    One time I was driving through the city with my grandma and grandpa and we passed the house they lived in as newlyweds. It was for sale and was having an open house that day and I suggested we go in and take a look and so we did and they told me about all of their wonderful memories in the house. It’s amazing, the experiences you can have if you just take the time to stop every so often.

  • Emily

    2008/09/29 at 2:28 pm

    What an amazing story. Really makes you stop and think. I truly appreciate this post. Amidst an election, stock market tumble and the everyday chaos of our world–that actually made time slow down for a moment.

  • adrienne

    2008/09/29 at 2:28 pm

    wow. so good.

  • emily eakes

    2008/09/29 at 2:28 pm

    i agree with “D” – it’s a good lesson on how to be…

  • Katie in Berkeley

    2008/09/29 at 2:29 pm

    Thank you for posting this, though I do generally try to avoid crying in the middle of my workday.

  • Katie Kat

    2008/09/29 at 2:29 pm

    We should all get these moments in our lives more often. The simple act of grace and compassion, even if your life is wheeling out of control, is one of the most beautiful experiences you can have (or give).

    I guarantee that good karma came back to that cab driver.

  • Miss Thystle

    2008/09/29 at 2:29 pm

    I’m crying my ugly cry right now, at my desk, knowing I’ve got a meeting in about 3 minutes and I don’t have any tissues, so I’m going to go in there looking like someone beat me with the ugly stick and have to lie about why I look that way since I’m not supposed to be using the internet at work.

    Totally worth it.

  • sheila

    2008/09/29 at 2:30 pm

    thanks for that — it made me cry, but it made me happy. people are genuinely good, this just reinforces it.

  • Giovanna Diaries

    2008/09/29 at 2:30 pm

    That was a great post. We need more people in the world like that cabbie!

  • Bryan

    2008/09/29 at 2:30 pm

    Wow. It’s nice to read about someone who is not afraid to stop their world to help someone else.

  • Jo-Anne

    2008/09/29 at 2:30 pm

    Tears, beautiful tears. Thanks for sharing. I’ll probably remember that story in my dying days.

  • Jamie

    2008/09/29 at 2:30 pm

    Wow. We should all be doing something so warm and generous for our elders. They need us as much as we need them. I know that woman wasn’t my grandmother, but my thoughts are of my own grandma, living alone. Thanks for sharing.

  • Joey

    2008/09/29 at 2:30 pm

    I just got to this line: “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”

    I am going to need a tissue, aren’t I?

  • Michele

    2008/09/29 at 2:31 pm

    I’m still misty. I’ve seen so many people from my family and church go through hospice, and while it’s a great service, it’s still so sad to know that the end is near. I’ve always praised the people that work in hospice, but I forget about the little saviors along the way that help get to that place. This was not only sweet, but a reminder that I need to be a better “me” and think about how I can make a small difference.
    Thank you for the link.

  • Mental P Mama

    2008/09/29 at 2:31 pm

    That is one of the most beautifully written vignettes I’ve ever read.

  • Karen the non-jerk

    2008/09/29 at 2:42 pm

    I thought it was lovely.

    I am not commenter #41.

  • Kwana

    2008/09/29 at 2:32 pm

    Beautiful. “The door closing on a life” line was amazing. Thanks for this link today. Makes you think about what’s important.

  • Rebecca

    2008/09/29 at 2:33 pm

    It reminds of the times we would drive my grandpa around Ukranian Village in Chicago and he would tell stories of his childhood there, with a bittersweet smile and far away look in his eyes. I wish we would have taken him more.

  • Christine

    2008/09/29 at 2:34 pm

    Thank you for posting the link. I’m sharing this beautiful story with everyone I know.

  • Lisa

    2008/09/29 at 2:36 pm

    Why do we always need remindeding that everything we do matters? Anyway, Thanks for the reminder

  • Melanie

    2008/09/29 at 2:37 pm

    A beautiful story that makes me thankful that my grandmother had her whole famly with her when she went.

    please delete number 41

  • Candis

    2008/09/29 at 2:38 pm

    We’re also conditioned to think the world revolves around us. What a neat story!

  • Throws

    2008/09/29 at 2:39 pm

    We all stand the chance of being the little old lady. Will we take the opportunity to be the cab driver if it presents itself.

    Another great post………….. Thanks

  • Nancy King

    2008/09/29 at 2:40 pm

    I will be sharing this with my teenage sons. This is exactly what I believe raising good humans is all about.

    Stories like this just show how end of life is just as powerful as the beginning.

  • Issa

    2008/09/29 at 2:41 pm

    I’ve read that before but it meant more today. Two weeks ago, I lost my grandfather and I’m about to lose my grandmother. He was (and she will be) surrounded by family as he passed, but I always feel for people who aren’t.

    It’s that thing of, one small thing, which may mean nothing to you, can change someone else’s life.

  • kcbelles

    2008/09/29 at 2:42 pm

    Wow – can’t wait until #41 needs an act of kindness. What a thing to say. Even if the piece does not move you or stir any emotion, no reason to be crude. Not sure why some people are compelled to be nasty; insecurities, perhaps?

    Finally got through and read the piece. I found it very moving. I’m sharing with my e-mail circle, cuz it’s that good.

    Thank you.

  • Shilo

    2008/09/29 at 2:42 pm

    I met the man I love because I agreed to go to work and cover a shift for someone even though I was unwell.

    He was only the US for 4 more days and had I not been there I would have missed out on meeting him.

    thank you for posting that, it was really beautiful.

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Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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