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28 September 2011

Everyday Carry: When someone pops the question

S*&t Happens

Tires blow. Lightbulbs burn out. Wires come loose. Packages arrive. People get hangnails.

I have a tire iron, a flashlight, pliers, a knife and tweezers.

The tire iron is in the car and and the rest are somewhere on my belt.

I have a number of other things on me like a couple batteries for the flashlight. A while back I loaned the batteries to someone because her camera died and she popped the question. No. We're not engaged. However I did have to answer that the batteries were for my flashlight. Then the next question was "Why do you have a flashlight?" And that answer was "in case I need it."

Why is it odd that I carry a small amount of tools? Why isn't it odd that when these occasional, usually minor irritations to someone's day happen they're running around hunting tools or asking to borrow them?

I never pop the question.

Why do you have that? is never something I ask people. I know, probably better than people who do pop the question, that sometimes people come with dishonest intentions. I'm more interested in giving the benefit of the doubt to the rest...to those folks who aren't up to something.

If I have a flashlight I can light up your work area when you're changing a tire. It's a tool. And people have appreciated my having it on me when they've needed it. The same goes for the knife or the pliers or the tweezers or a lighter or whatever little doohickey one person has that another never seems to need and thinks no one else does either.

It's another form or normalcy bias that has people giving the side-ways eye when they see a tiny pocketknife on a keychain. It's not helpful. It encourages attitudes that that work to divide us, whereas the tool itself can bring people together.

I'd rather be called MacGyver and file off some metal shaving that's about to cut someone than be looking for a Band-aid, which, by the way, I have in my first aid kits.

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