I am writing this specifically to you in return for the kindness you have shown in the past. This kindness is not uncommon between good friends—especially old friends like us. But to confirm, I write this to you because the sort of kindness you showed me is the most important kind of all.
The greatest kindness anyone can show are the tiny reminders that someone else knows, listens, and remembers. Take the sunrise for example. Aside from me, there are few people who voluntarily wake up or rise with the intention of nothing else but to watch the sun come up.
In times like this and on mornings when sunrise is nothing short of miraculous; the eastern sky takes on an orange hue and the clouds trace outward like long delicate see-thru feathers that scatter across the horizon with various shades of peach to purple.
I stand watching in quiet awe of this inspirational sight with coffee in hand. I view this as a vision of hope. In this moment, the day has yet to start, and nothing has gone wrong. There are no news reports about crime or controversy. The sky tells a different story than say, Fox News or CNN.
There are no headlines of tragedy or downfall. For the moment, all is right with the world. There are no arguments about government or talks of an upcoming election. No one is bidding against us. There is no war or struggle.
What I love most about the sunrise is no one can swipe away this minute of hope, and for this peaceful little second, there is no one around to impose on the quiet space between Mother Earth and the new morning sky.
I write this to you because your kindness comes to me in times like this. And verily, what makes this kindness stand out more is its unexpected timing of a random email or text message, which reads, “I hoped you enjoyed the sunrise,” as a reminder of something I refer to as brotherhood.
I cannot begin to imagine the tension you feel. In current times, the world is far from where we wish it could be. Like most of the working world, I have my set hours. As well, I also work the obligatory overtime to make ends meet and put a few plates of food on my family table.
I go to work in the morning and place my hand in a time clock to verify my existence and prove the time of my arrival to insure that I am paid from the moment I begin until the time I leave. This time clock is what documents my trade; a pound of flesh, sweat, and blood for one day’s pay.
Upon the completion of my shift, I wash the dirt from my hands and place my tools away. I close all my open work orders on my hand-held smart device, which I seldom use correctly, and often close without recognizing the necessary features to properly end my work detail.
Fortunately, there is a chain that my emails go through. In which case, my comments are less than important. In fact, my comments are written less from a literary standpoint and more towards the goal of a brief but informative reason.
Throughout my day, I work on different jobs that range from simple tasks to difficult and sometimes strenuous ones. In no time throughout my day and even while under the worst circumstances; I have never been nor would there ever be any reason for me to be concerned with death or the threatening aspect of violence.
There are no guns at my workplace (at least, none that I know of) and the only assassinations I have to concern myself with are the personal character assassinations that stem from the rumor factory and churn through the gossip mills next to the coffee machine.
There is no threat to me or to my partners at work. There is no one out in this world nor is there a group with the specific intention of hurting me or my co-workers simply because we are building engineers.
I cannot say that we have a tremendous fan club. We are called into office spaces as needed and rarely, if ever, are we regarded as heroes.
The only time we are appreciated is when we fix the air conditioning or heating systems. In some cases, we are not permitted to work on private cooling systems, to which we are often commanded and cursed at by angry tenants in suit jackets and dress shirts with club ties, or possibly a Rolex watch dangling at the wrist.I am on the blue collar side of life as opposed by the white collar; however, the color of my shirt collar or its opposite does not dictate whether one is an asshole or not. It has been my experience that assholes come in different shapes and sizes. They wear white collars and blue ones as well
I have been yelled at and treated unfairly in my place of employment. I have been called names by different tenants because they did not get their way. I have listened to anti-Semitic remarks. I have been threatened, and in one case; I was grabbed by the arm in an aggressive way by an irate tenant who sought to fight me because I asked that he refrain from calling either myself or the owner of my company, “A fucking Jew!”
I have dealt with angry and aggressive contractors. I have seen accidents on the job-site where tradesmen were hurt and witness electrical shorts. In either case and on any given day at work, I was never concerned whether I would make it home alive. I have never walked into my workplace with the concern of an active shooter or fear that I will be killed in the line of duty, simply because I chose to earn my living as a man that fixes commercial refrigeration systems.
But you, my friend, have a different scenario. Like me, you wear a uniform. However, it is that same uniform that has become a target.
It is unfortunate that these are the times we live in. A line has been drawn. I would say this line is a simple one—it is one between good and evil. But here in lies the problem. It is hard to see the enemy when he or she hides in plain sight.
It is hard to have moments like the ones we have at sunrise (or even sunset) when the news does nothing else but report tragedy after tragedy; exposing controversy after controversy, because after all, these are what we as a society find newsworthy. It is sad that as a society, instead of repair our communities; we degrade them by worsening the situation.
Why isn’t the sunrise newsworthy? Is it because it happens every day? According to the news, murder happens every day, and that’s newsworthy. Racism happens every day. Every day, someone is shot or stabbed. Every day, our country steps closer to a different branch of war. New enemies are exposed on a daily basis, and this as well as any other terrifying story is a daily occurrence, which has been deemed newsworthy and spoon fed from one household to the next.
Is it because no one wants to hear about a group of old friends who gathered at a local place called, All-American Burger?
Is it because no one wants to hear about a man who weaved through the day without any problems, or any struggle?
There is a little girl named Olivia who is about to enter into her last round of chemotherapy. At 13 years-old, this little girl beat stage four, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This little girl defied the odds against her. She beat a death sentence, but this isn’t newsworthy.
And again, I ask the same question.
Why isn’t this newsworthy?
Why are there no reports about men or families that celebrate life and get through it one day at a time? Why are there no more miracles reported on television or in newspapers?
Is this because miracles no longer happen? I’m sure if you ask the parents of that 13 year-old girl, they could tell you about a long list of miracles
I am writing this to so that you understand, yes, the world is in disarray. These are tough times for men in uniform. Specifically, these are tough times to be a cop in uniform or even a firefighter or an Emergency Medical Technician.
Since the news is filled with tragedies and dreadful headlines—I figured I would send you this with hopes to strengthen your morale and boost your spirit.
Because of men and woman like you who protect and defend the streets and property of me, the common man; I was able to arrive home safely this evening. On my way, there were no shootings. No one was robbed and there were no tragedies seen during my trip from Lexington Avenue to 8th .
In an effort to expose a humorous truth; the only thing that happened on my way home is that I was propositioned by a rather tall and unattractive transvestite hooker while on my way to Port Authority Bus Station.
But aside from this—the day was hot, New York City ran as it does on a daily basis, and men and women wearing blue uniforms made it home safely and alive.
As for the sunset this evening . . .
I watched the sun go down from my back porch with coffee in hand. Various colors shaded the western side of the horizon and another day successfully came to a close.
In times like this, I can say no other wards than this:
Stay safe Officer
There are citizens like me who greatly depend on what you do.
But more importantly, you have friends like me that enjoy your early morning texts.
Speak to you soon, my friend