Sunday, May 30, 2010

Where is the love?

After a short but intensive spell at work I have a weeks break during which I'll travel a bit around Germany. It's been pretty hectic at work, so I haven't had time to create anything, and that's how it'll probably be during the summer, too. :P But it's ok, since it's always so much fun working, because all the small things that happen (and great work mates). There have been few things that have given some food for my thoughts, though.

I can't understand how indifferent people have become. Few days ago, I was working and we had some army service in the church. When the congregation was leaving, I noticed an old lady with two nordic walking poles and button with the visually disabled logo. I went to ask her if she needed help with the stairs. She was surprised and happy and said yes, please. They were treating people with coffee just outside the door, but it was quite cold outside, so I asked if the old lady would like to drink a cuppa before she left and that I could go to get her one. I seated her inside so that she wouldn't freeze in the wind and went to check outside, but the queue was so long that I went back to chat with her a bit. (I guess I should have been doing something more "professional", but I felt bad to think I wouldn't have time for her.) We chatted until the queue came so short that I could sneak and steal a cup of coffee and a doughnut for her. She was really charming old lady, she said she was 94 and still going around in buses and walking as agile as someone 30 years her junior... After she finished her coffee, I helped her down the stairs, across the park and the road to the bus stop. She was really taken about it all and thanked me from her heart. I felt it quite nice, but didn't really feel like earning it all, since what else could I have done? The thing which does trouble me in the whole thing, though, is that even if there were 200 people in the church, army officers and such, I was the only one who stopped to ask if she needed any help...

Yesterday, me and my mom were in a paper shop. They were renovating, so lots of the stuff was in trollies. Just as I was walking past one of those, people in the other pushed it slightly so that some boxes fell right in front of me and spread their insides all over the floor. I didn't really stop to think other than "walking past this mess would be really indifferent and rude". So I started to pick those few things back to the boxes. When the salesperson and the customer other side of the trolly saw what I was doing, they made such a fuss about it that I got really confused. They kept repeating how nice I was and how I totally didn't need to do that and how so kind and nice people still excisted and thank you thank you, I'll take care of it, don't worry but thank you. I tried to flee, but I still had to buy the envelopes, so I had to listen to that gratitude all the way to the cashier... It felt really awkward, since I didn't feel like doing anything special and these people were treating me like I would be the 8th wonder of the world.

So what's the matter with us? Is a small good deed really so extinct that people over react when they see one? Of course it feels good when you see you make someone happy, but I don't expect that much anything in return of those many small favours I do every day - often people don't even notice them (like holding the door open long enough for the next one to pass). It's just a habit of taking other people in consideration. But it does feel sad if we've really grown so unobservative that we don't make the effort. I don't help every old lady across the street, I only do it when the opportunity happens to knock at the right time. I'm no saint, so I would appreciate it if people didn't treat me that way. From my ex-superior I learned that the best way to do many things is to do them so unnoticed as possible. He was absolutely right.

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