Saturday, November 3, 2007

Adventures in Gilbert

We spent our Saturday afternoon checking out an outdoor mall in Gilbert. Turns out that there are no Fossil apparel stores within about 1000 miles of Phoenix. Bummer for my wife, who really likes their clothes. (I do too).

ANYWAY, we stopped at In-N-Out drive-thru for some food, then chilled in the parking lot to scarf down the burger (as opposed to driving on the freeway attempting to eat the burger). It seems that if you leave my car's AC on without the engine running for any period of time longer than 3 minutes, it somehow kills the battery. So we were stuck next to a Gilbert Walmart. After pondering our options--and a quick run through Walmart just to cool off--I ended up asking some nice woman in the Walmart parking lot to help jump my car.

Here's the strange part: for whatever reason, it felt awkward to approach a complete stranger in a public place and ask them for help. I felt like I was an inconvenience (though the woman was genuinely friendly and helpful). This may just be a personal thing, but I wonder if it's cultural. We have an increasingly individualistic society where we don't even know the people living next door to us, let alone the person in the Walmart parking lot. Also, we are living in a post-9/11 fear-driven society where we have some serious trust issues with strangers. I was surprised a woman driving alone followed a spiky-haired guy wearing mostly black to his car without a second thought. I asked another woman first, and she promptly said that she couldn't help, that her car battery might die too. Would I help a complete stranger start their car? What would stop me from helping someone in need? How do I judge whether or not a person is worth my help? How does helping strangers relate to my faith in Jesus?

All of these thoughts raced through my brain for about 2 seconds as I attached a jumper cable to my dead battery.

I think I might over-analyze social situations.


  1. My friend calls that awkwardness the gap. It's what keeps believers in the pews and not out talking to the lost...

  2. if believers are actually in still pews, then "awkwardness" is a small problem compared to uncomfortable seating choices! :)

    Not sure if the awkwardness is only church vs world; it's more a societal issue. Just an observation from a certain social context.