January 18, 2014 10:54:13 PM
Tuesday was officially "Humanitarian Day," an under-recognized and under-publicized event. On this day, we are encouraged to do something nice for a stranger. The catch is that your kindness must be anonymous, if possible. Some suggestions were "pay the toll for the car behind you," or "sneak a latte onto a coworker's desk without telling them who put it there." According to the article I read, any good action affects the entire universe (a bit of a stretch, in my opinion). The author says that when "you ... improve the place where you reside, you will also improve the neighborhood you live in. This ripple effect can improve the whole world." (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you are looking for more ideas, check out The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. (randomactsofkindness.org/). They have suggestions for children and adults, school groups, musicians -- anyone who has something to share. Even those of us who are cash-strapped can find practically cost-free suggestions that pay big dividends. Last week was also "Random Acts of Kindness Week."
Our car has been in and out of the shop since before Thanksgiving. Oh my! We love our mechanic; however, the car's "illness" must be psychosomatic, because nothing that he does seems to make it want to run. This would not be a huge problem in some other cities. However, with no public transportation, it has been a crisis in our world. Our neighbors, Jyl and Greg, have been driving us to the grocery. They even loaned us a car to attend Curtis Austin's wedding reception, hosted by his mother, the charming Qua. We really did not want to miss that soiree!
During the catastrophe -- which is more horrible than the "Super Storm" and the "Polar Vortex" combined (forgive me, I editorialize slightly) -- Jyl and I spend way too much time in the parking lot of a local big-box store, while Chris goes in to "make groceries" (a New Orleans colloquialism). The vacant lot next to the store is a vast landscape of plastic grocery bags, fast food wrappers, debris and trash. Six metal carts lie askew. Altogether, probably more rubbish than in a landfill is scattered in the field. Here is an opportunity for some civic-minded group to clean up this eyesore. (Naturally, I think the store should do it. However, they would most likely just send their overworked employees to accomplish this task. Truly, they do not need to do any more hard labor.)
We have neighbors who toss our Dispatch newspaper onto the porch, or collect windblown trash along the street, as they pass by.
All around us are countless situations that present unplanned possibilities for random kindness. I suppose there are many people, especially the elderly, who need rides this winter, or dog walkers, or any number of considerate deeds. These need not be heroic, just being helpful is enough. We should consider every day a chance to perform kindness and deeds of humanitarianism.
I ask my readers to work some magic to fix our car's mysterious hypochondria, because we desperately want to attend Deborah Johnson's book signing at the RAC this week. If it is not repaired, you may see Chris and me hitching along Fifth Street South in Columbus. If so, please be kind and humanitarian and give us a ride.
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.