While I tried to make sense of then-recent turns in our government elections, I sat down to breakfast at the local diner. Served along with my usual scrambled eggs, bacon and home potatoes was an open jar of some homemade fruit jam for my gluten-free toast.
As I opened the lid and used the built-in mini-spoon to drop a small dollop onto half a slice of bread, I made sure not to touch my bread or any other food on my plate before putting the spoon back into the jam to be used another customer, another table. Every time I am confronted with the communal jar of jam, I consciously wonder whether the people who used this jam jar before me, shared all morning long and simply moved from guest to guest and table to table, have the same, careful habits that I do. I hope that no one double-dipped their knife into the spread; I hoped that no little fingers tested it beforehand and that no one sneezed or otherwise introduced germs into my coming week. And while I always stop and think about possible contamination and the resulting cold/flu/sickness, I put my trust in my fellow human being. On this day, I spooned some out and began my meal.
Trust is that simple. I trust cars to drive safely and to adhere to the rules of the road. That one doesn’t always work; I can attest to the number and frequency of ambulances that speed by my window overlooking the highway. I trust that when the lights turn green, I’m safe to walk. I trust the online retailer not to steal my credit card and deliver exactly the goods I order. I trust my eBay purchases to arrive intact or my Craigslist sellers not to rob me. I trust people whom I have never seen and may never meet and they trust me back.
And while events then and now make me think twice about whom I blindly assume will do the right thing, when the definition of the ‘right thing’ seems to be up for debate, I’m choosing to believe that most of us are doing our very best; that most of us look out for one another. I can tell you for sure that I’m looking out for me. But I’m also looking out for you.