random thoughts: little things


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Marcus is a wildly avid cyclist.  He likes mountain biking and trailbiking the best; he owns several bikes, including a couple he's built from scratch.  Needless to say, my complete lack of interest in cycling leaves him profoundly disappointed.

Alex, however, is starting to become pretty keen on cycling, and is in the process of learning how to ride her bike without training wheels.  On weekends, Marcus takes her out in the neighbourhood, running beside her while holding the back of her bike seat.  Occasionally he lets go, and she cycles on her own for a few dozen feet before he needs to grab the bike again.

On Sunday, the three of us were having lunch, after they had enjoyed a particularly successful stint on the bike that morning.  Suddenly, Marcus said, "You know what's cool about her bike?" 

Alex's bike is a pretty ordinary girl's bike purchased from Target, if memory serves, not any fancy make or model.  When we bought it, most of its appeal came from the pink and purple paint job, as well as the sparkly streamers that flow from the handlebars.

"What's that?"

"Her bike seat has grooves under it to make it easy to hold.  It's specifically designed so that an adult's fingers fit perfectly under it.  The bike is totally intended to be the bike a kid learns how to ride.  There's no other reason for those grooves to be there."

I was rather unreasonably impressed by this.  It just seems that these days, everyone is so busy rushing around trying to do their own thing, common courtesy is often hard to come by; far less someone (or, for that matter, an actual company) going out of his/her/their way to make life easier for you.   And in this particular case, how simple was that tiny modification?  Just a few little grooves -- a completely unnecessary adaptation, hidden in a place that would otherwise likely escape your notice; and yet, it was like the bike company just decided to say, "Here, let me get that for you.  There you go.  That should make it a bit easier."

I love that.  Imagine how much nicer a place the world would be if everybody, all of us, just once a day, said, "Here, let me get that for you."

A much nicer place, I'll wager.

SongLittle things by india.arie