Photo by Tom Roberts / Unsplash

What happens when the messaging changes from hate to love? Here's a perfect example from another Hump Day in Oregon

There's a thick, heavy oak door installed in front of both of the women's toilets at the ICM restaurant in Florence, Oregon. I've become a regular there (the restaurant, not the toilets. Okay, the toilets, too), usually finishing my Hump Day (midweek vacay days) with a serving of their magnificent crabcakes. Okay, two. Okay, okay, THREE.

I admit.

Their crab cakes are just that good. I have three orders, that would be six hot crab cakes, done to perfection with lemon and tartar sauce. There is no better finish to the day, barring having the Chippendales dance through my living room before I go to bed.

However yesterday's dessert, as it were, was completely different. I used the handicapped stall this time as its partner was occupied. So I occupied that adapted stall, and stalled out on the seat.

Toilet stalls, especially in school, were ever the social media of our day before phones. When we sat in them we were trapped by the angst and anger of pre-adolescent children. I saw notes about myself scrawled at eye level, intended to do as much harm as possible. The 1970s version of hate mail and online bullying.

This wasn't that. In fact, I was so stunned that I took photos.

Graffiti at the ICM restaurant Julia Hubbel
Shot #2 Julia Hubbel

I don't know about you, but I wasn't just stunned. I was chuffed (my Aussie friends know that word, it means delighted but it's more fun to write).

So I read, took my time, and appreciated not only the thoughts but the person who had chosen to decorate this wood with kindness and love. The writing appears to be the work of one young woman who decided that the world needed a little light in dark places.

What. A. Breath. Of. Fresh. Air.

Okay, not something you and I might write while sitting in a toilet, mind you, but look. We are now so accustomed to the graffiti online being intended to eviscerate us that when we discover an oasis of some kind, of kindness, if you will, it blows in like a soft spring wind no matter where we're sitting (or shitting if you'll forgive the pun).

Sorry for fuzz. Julia Hubbel

While my last photo wasn't very clear, the sentiment is:

Most people are just trying to be the best they can.

While it can be damned hard to allow for this given what we see in the world, this sentiment and the others that I read were all examples of Reckless Love in the face of so much Reckless Hate.

For those of you who wonder why I wander, this is why. I received a terribly sad note yesterday on a piece that I penned about how there is no "away." The real message is that the "away" ultimately is inside us, just as when we do take small excursions we are just as likely to be delighted in what we find if we look with new eyes.

And one more thing, because there is always One More Thing.

the Devil's Churn, south of Yachats Julia Hubbel

I drove to Yachats yesterday just to buy sourdough for my neighbor. Norman, the big fat Black Lab who inhabits the Yachats Mercantile where I get my bread, growled and barked in ecstasy when I scrubbed him. I took a side trip to see the local beach and use the toilet there.

When I walked in, a very expensive women's leather jacket had been draped over the top of the stall.

Nobody was in the stall. Someone left what is clearly a prized possession by mistake. Some other kind soul, and all those who came after her including me, left it there just in case that traveler had a sudden realization that her precious jacket had been left behind.

Those are manners. Kindnesses. They aren't limited to Oregon. They are all of us and everywhere, because WE do it. WE do. This is how WE hold back the onslaught of ugliness. WE do kind things and generous things and leave messages of hope and love in dark places.

WE do.

Because you and I can be the world's angels.

Yachats in the fog Julia Hubbel