Monday, January 3, 2011

Make Yourself That Somebody

For months, my friend and I travel by this one treacherous patch of sidewalk on our walk to school--the place that dips down towards a jagged ravine of rocks and icy water--and say, "Somebody should really put a fence up."

We rescue kids as they slide off the sidewalk, shake our heads and say again, "Somebody should really put a fence up."

As the months go on, we realize how much we say, "Somebody should really..."--whether referring to cleaning the house, fixing something, or generally improving the world.

We laugh about this expression: somebody should really. . .

Who is this Somebody person?  Can I meet her?

It occurs to us that we are the Somebody.  We stop saying, "Somebody should really put a fence up," and we decide to make ourselves that somebody. 

I don't know where to start, so I ask someone at the school who tells me I should "call the county."  (I didn't realize you can call people in your county and get help with things your community needs. You can!)  I look up in my phonebook the name of my township and call the number there.  A man answers the phone, and I explain that children are slipping off the sidewalk and falling into a ditch on the way to school.  Can we put a fence up?

"Yes," he says.  "Let me check who owns that property, and I'll send a crew out today.  We'll take care of it."

I even ask the man if he could make it a nice fence, charming, and not some metal thing with orange mesh reserved for danger zones.

He sends out his crew and builds our fence.

Now, on the walk to school, my friend and I look at that fence and remember to make ourselves that somebody.  

My Charming Fence
She says, "Somebody should really write a book with that title." 

Up the Big Hill Towards School
Somebody should.  If you make yourself that somebody, you can really change something. 

In fact, what initiates my friend's 100 pound weight loss last year is a t-shirt she sees that says, "Somebody should really do something about how fat I am."

She decides to make herself that somebody.

I want to make myself that Somebody in 2011.


Jeedoo said...

You keep doing a great job! Can you send me a document of this and a picture of you?

LivewithFlair said...

Yes! On the way to your gmail account!

jenny_o said...

You make a very good point. Wouldn't it be amazing if everyone did this?

Rachel said...

Your post reminds me of this quote (I'll have to Google it to remember who said it): "Be the change you want to see in the world."

Unknown said...

I have the change quote on my locker at work - will check to see who wrote it. I keep trying to find a book which addresses multi-dog households - there is none. not for more than 4-5, anyway. I have 19 between mine and the adoptables. I think the someone to write the book is me :). Your posts are awesome - thanks.

JoAnn Foley-DeFiore said...

Be the change you want to see in the world....that was attributed to Gandhi.

David Rupert said...

Loved this post and hope you don't mind that you inspired me to write "Somebody Oughta"

E.M.B. said...

Great point. How was that so easy for you? Seems like it would start with making that call and end up being having a meeting about it. So how long did it take for them to put up the fence? My brother would be intrested in that.

dianna said...

What a nice story -- and motivation for all of us to "be the someone".


Ann Kroeker said...

I love your gumption, Somebody!

Because of your thought to pick up the phone, the world is a safer, more flair-full place. Because that fence is far more than charming.

That is a fence with flair.

Melissa said...

I love this post! it makes me smile!

LivewithFlair said...

E.M.B., the whole process took a week or so because the ground was too cold to put the posts for the fence in. When I called the county, I was put in touch with the Physical Plant who maintains the school property. They had the power to put the fence up--no meeting needed. They just got to work since it was a safety issue for neighborhood children walking to school.

Connie said...

"It occurs to us that we are the Somebody"...yes, I'm learning that if it touches my heart, then I'm the one.

Unknown said...

So it's TRUE! We CAN all be somebody.

Beautiful, challenging, convincing post.

steveb said...

Excellent post!

I once read "If you think 'somebody should do something' then that somebody is YOU."