I have long been troubled by a bumper sticker which says “Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty.” I’m sure someone will stop by and explain it to me. Maybe there is a book I can read which will provide me with the tenets of this random philosophy; I welcome the suggestion.
The reason I am troubled is because I do not think there are any “random” acts of kindness.
When I am waiting in line at a coffee shop and I give a person two quarters for a parking meter, this is my deliberate decision to be helpful. There is nothing random about it. Fifty cents seems like a small amount of money to help a busy person.
When I realize my car is located in a locked parking garage that closed at 6:00 p.m., I call the “after hours” number. Someone from a security company arrives, unlocks the garage, and lets me out. They charge me a “fee” and I go on my merry way. This is called “doing business.” There was nothing random or kind about it.
When my Jeep and I are sprung from the parking garage and I’m hungry, I stop at Espo’s Trattoria and order a “Stevie’s Meatball” to go. I sit at the bar while I’m waiting, trying to read some notes I scribbled in my reporter’s notebook. The bartender, Paul, lets me borrow his cheaters when he realizes I am having trouble reading my notes. Paul made a deliberate decision to help me while I waited for my dinner. Again, nothing random; it is Paul’s job to keep his customers happy. Paul’s a friendly and helpful guy.
When I deliberately write a blog post about meatballs and cheaters and sweet little neighborhood restaurants in Portland, Maine without receiving anything in return, it is called “appreciation.”
I’ve written about Moxie soda every day for the last week. I’ve done this deliberately because I love Lisbon Falls and the people who live there; Moxie is what is left of Lisbon Falls. The mills have closed and the Navy base is closed. We’re down but we’re not out. We still have Moxie and we’re deliberate about it.
I don’t know how to change the world and I don’t have many bumper stickers on my car. If a bumper sticker could save the world, maybe I’d consider adding it to the trio I’ve thoughtfully placed on my Jeep. I’m going to keep being deliberate about the things I say and do.
Be deliberately kind and thoughtful today. Oh…and DRINK MOXIE! It’s wicked good stuff.
(Deliberate wink, wink, nudge, nudge.)