Our experience on the road has been one of friendliness and help from those we meet. Many people say hello, make eye contact and are willing to pass the time of day. I have been wanting business cards, but we have never stayed anywhere long enough to have them made. We came up with a solution: business-stones! So we combed the beaches of Jalama and El Capitan State Parks to find those of the right texture, color and shape. Once the hard work of collecting the stones was done, Annet has been adding a touch of her illustrative magic with her website. Invariably people have responded to receiving a business rock with comments like: O, what a good idea! How cool is that! Awesome! It has been a fun way for me to meet people and recognize others for their random acts of kindness and cordiality.
Santa Barbara is a city in which there is a very apparent dichotomy. The wealth is conspicuous in Santa Barbara, as is the poverty. When asking people for directions it takes them a moment to emerge from a protective shell, register that you only ask for directions and not for money. It’s understandable, when one is being accosted for money all the time.
We went to an Apple store and were asked to wait until our name was called to receive attention from an ‘associate’. I looked over and there was an elderly gentleman, who had the appearance of someone who’s been sucking on lemons for 80 years or more. When I asked him how long he had been waiting he said: O, I’ve only been here for a minute. From the look on his face I’d thought he’d been waiting for hours on end. Hoping to offer him some good cheer, I asked: Would you like a business stone? Holding out a few specimens. Looking down his nose on my offering, he gave me a gruff ‘No.” I think he had become so habituated to say No, that even allowing me the satisfaction of giving away a gist was too much for him. Jonas and I walked away, with me reflecting upon the state of humanity, while Jonas could have cared the less.