The Kindness Of Strangers.

What did people do before the internet? I guess I should know—I was well into adulthood even before e-mail became widespread, and it was a few years after that my work department’s IT people came around and started installing Netscape on everyone’s computers, just in case someone found a use for it at some point and now, well, here we are.

Of course the problem with the internet then and now is that you can put up a request for help but there’s no way to know if it will reach the right people. In the old days the issue might have been that there weren’t enough people with access to see the message; now the issue might be that there are so many people with so much access looking at so much stuff it’s hard for a really specific request to reach the right person. Did someone happen to see a wreck involving a silver Honda on Charlotte Avenue in Nashville, Tennessee on June 11th at about 12:30PM?

I didn’t—I kind of wish I had because I’d like to be able to help the person who put up the roadside sign asking for assistance, but I was nowhere near where it seems to have happened even though it was a Saturday and I think I might have been running errands at the time. Or maybe I was home. I don’t remember, but I’m pretty sure I would remember seeing a wreck. Since it happened on a really busy street at a time when a lot of people would have been around it seems pretty likely there were witnesses and I hope one of them comes forward.

That also reminds me of one morning when I was on my way to work. I parked in the parking garage and next to the elevator there was a sign that said, “To the person who hit my car: please come forward with your information so we can arrange a settlement. If you don’t the parking manager has agreed to provide the security footage.”

I’m pretty sure that sign had a much better chance of success since it was addressed to a much smaller group. But since I wasn’t involved I never did find out what happened in that situation. I was kind of tempted, though, to put up a sign next to the elevator that said, “To the person whose car got hit, how’d that turn out? I hope you got some justice.” And maybe I’d add my email address, although I think there’d be enough interest in that story that they should have put it on the internet where lots of people could read it.

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9 Comments

  1. Allison

    Back before the interwebs, you’d see classified ads with info like the one on the roadside sign. I was always reading the personals because I am a voyeur. But I never did witness an accident and bail, or read an ad for an accident that I had witnessed and bailed on. Still, it was always an interesting slice of humanity.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That reminds me that the Nashville Scene used to have its whole back page, back when it was printed on cheap newspaper, devoted to classified ads. Sometimes there were requests for help but there were also “missed connections” that I thought were interesting. People would write things like, “Hey handsome guy, saw you at the park on Saturday, April 15th. Could we meet?” I always wondered how well those worked out.

      Reply
  2. M.L. James

    David is the kind of person who doesn’t like to get involved. It’s not that he’s unkind…he’s just private and likes to keep life simple as life becomes more complicated. I’m the kind of person who runs in without thinking about how complicated things can get by involving myself. We kind of even each other out. I hope those who need and ask for it get justice. For those running from their…responsibilities? Karma. That is all. Mona
    M.L. James recently posted…ZappedMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I understand wanting to keep life simple and also being private. Not wanting to get involved isn’t necessarily an indication of unkindness; I get that we all only have so much to give and self-care isn’t selfish. I think you know what I’m getting at here. And I’m glad some, like you, are willing to let lives get a little more complicated.

      Reply
  3. Christie Hawkes

    I haven’t heard the word Netscape in a long time. I remember trying to make sense of this World Wide Web everyone was talking about. I also remember having to go to the library to do research. Hmmm…do I sound old? Well, I guess I am, so I’m entitled to reminisce about the good ole days or how far we’ve come. I found your blog through a comment you left on Mona’s Wayward Sparkles. It’s nice to “meet” you, Christopher. I’ll definitely be back.
    Christie Hawkes recently posted…WOTY June update: Connected to Mother EarthMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Hi Christie, it’s nice to “meet” you too and I look forward to “seeing” you again. I also remember having to go to the library to do research, even when all libraries had was card catalogs. Now I work for a library and, funny enough, I have a stack of old card catalog cards that were saved when the catalogs were removed. Some parts of the past are hard to let go of because they worked so well.

      Reply
  4. markbialczak

    Before the Internet, Chris, I thought my newspaper career was set in stone.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      You were very lucky to have a newspaper career, Mark, and I think we didn’t appreciate how lucky we were to have local journalists like you before newspapers started disappearing.

      Reply
  5. ANN J KOPLOW

    I always depend on the kindness of friends like you, Chris.

    Reply

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