Sunday, January 31, 2010

Do a Good Turn - The Last Week

My, my. Can you tell by my week long silence that it's tax season and I work for an accountant? Time available to blog has been pretty much nonexistent. Now, rather than do a day by day accounting of good turns, which would make for a lengthy post, I'll do a week in review type of post.

EVENTS - Spread the love with sugar, Do talk to strangers, Shopping cart Nazi returns, Remember to love your family, too

Oh, the power of junk food. Alas. Without planning to, I ended up with three days of sugar related good turns. I bought donuts for my class. I bought candy for another class that joined us on Friday morning for a little friendly competition and, because they were 4/$1, I bought boxes of Valentine Conversation hearts to share with people in my office. That's a lot of sugar, but it was fun and all the recipients enjoyed it.

One of my favorite things this week was a conversation I had with a young girl in the post office. She was probably nine or ten and was in line all by herself with three envelopes and a handful of change. In all fairness, she started the conversation, but once did, I really went for it. I wanted to talk to her, but didn't want to say anything first since that may have caused her a moral dilemma if it had bee drilled into her not to talk to strangers. I was quite happy when she turned around in line and asked, "Where do you live?"

That might seem like an ordinary question, but this was a work related trip to the post office and the town where I work is small and only has one post office. It's a safe bet when you're standing in line there that the answer to where someone lives is going to be "Colusa, " but she asked anyway. You gotta love that. Her follow up question was even better. "Do you collect anything?"
"No, not really. Do you?"
"I collect Beanie Babies."
"Cool. How many do you have?" Now, remember, she's a "collector."
"Oh. How long have you been collecting them?"
"Since I was born. My Grandma gave me my first one as a birth present."

By this time I am totally in love with this girl. Who acquires two of something over a lifetime and yet calls themselves a collector? To her "collector" spoke of the importance place these two Beanie Babies hold in her heart. It reminded me of a question posed on one of the blogs I follow. "When did you know you were a writer?" Several of the comments left in response were some variation of, "I'm still not sure I would call myself a writer. I think when I'm published I'll be able to say that." So many of us are hesitant to claim a title, no matter how important something is in our lives, until we receive validation from somewhere outside of us. Why do we do that? Why can't we be a collector if we only collect two in a lifetime, or a writer, even if we're never published?

Thank you for that lesson, little girl in the post office. BTW, the rest of the conversation was equally delightful.

Okay, the shopping cart thing. I am not a collector of pet peeves, but I am realizing I do have one - abandoned shopping carts. A couple of times this week I have corralled carts that someone else has ditched in inappropriate places, like I have mentioned doing earlier in the month. This doesn't bother me too much if a store's parking lot designers are stingy with the number of parking places they are willing to devote to cart corrals. No one wants to walk a half a mile to return their cart. However, the store where I do the majority of my shopping is most generous in their allocation of corrals. Seriously, if you park in the main area of the lot you don't have to go further than two parking places away to find a cart return slot. Two places! How hard is that? I'll allow there may be occasional situations that justify ditching a cart in this particular parking lot, but I mean very occasional.

I know, I know, I just need to let go. This is certainly nothing worth getting my knickers in a twist over, but is it too much to ask for people to take a little personal responsibility and have some consideration for others who may actually want to park in the place they so rudely render useless by the abandoning of their carts?

But, I cannot in good conscience count returning other's carts as a good deed if I'm being a cart Nazi, now can I? I must have kind thoughts of those who will come after and benefit from my action, not acid thoughts of those who have come before and done this selfish thing.

Okay, I'm done now.

Last, but not least in this week's wrap up is remembering to love our families, too. Sometimes, well okay, way too often it's easy to see someone so much that we almost stop seeing them. Obviously we love them or we wouldn't plan their meals, do their shopping, wash their clothes, clean their house, plan our lives around their schedules, etc., etc., right? But, do we remember to actually tell them we love them and sometimes do the extra things that show we love them? This week has provided opportunities to do some of those extra little things, culminating tonight with hosting a family dinner for sixteen people in honor of my son who reports tomorrow to begin his service in the Air Force. (Go, Thomas.) Honoring this Eagle Scout son is a very fitting end to this month of doing a good turn daily.

COST - Donuts, candy and mostly dinner costs - about $80
EFFORT - Some activities, not much. Other activities quite a bit.
TIME - Total for the whole week -about ten hours
WOULD I DO IT AGAIN? - Yes, but I'd spread it out over a longer time period if I could.

Stay tuned for one or two final month in review posts next week.

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