When the large group of circa twenty-year-old guys moved into the massive house next door (I'm guessing there are at least five bedrooms in it), I was a bit annoyed at their loud parties every Friday night. Whenever they are in group on their porch or in the backyard, they are loud and brash. But, the few times I run into them individually, they are each so sweet and gentlemanly that I forgive and forget the last loud Friday party, and feel glad that they are my neighbors. I get this older sister protective feeling for them because they are so much younger than me.
Too early this morning, I was feeling absolutely exhausted from my late nights of working on coauthor paper. I went out to bring in the garbage cans and one of the guys offered to help. Though I declined the offer, he insisted on helping me and brought in one of the garbage/recycle bins while I rolled in the other. I was so touched, and it started my day on a friendly note.
Since I've moved to postdoc city, despite declining such offers of help, I have seen chivalry in action in 2008 by guys helping me with my garbage cans. The first time it happened, I thought, maybe I look weak and frail, and they honestly felt I needed help, but now I think that Postdoc City is as much a part of the South as MA City. I'm getting used to it. I love the feeling of fortitude at my own independence, but it also makes it just that much sweeter when you get an unexpected break from it, even in the smallest way.