Good Deeds and Sunshine

It has been hot and humid, prompting heat alerts and smog advisories and I have been loving every minute of it. While others are complaining of the heat I am irritatingly peppy, often exclaiming, “why, it feels just like a breezy oven!” with uncontainable glee. To have a brief respite from wearing my granny cardigan has been bliss.

My joyful perkiness came in handy yesterday when I was waiting at the bank machine to deposit a cheque. The man in front of me was exhibiting a post-work, melting in the humidity stance. As he stumbled away I discovered that he hadn’t removed his cash from the slot. I hadn’t had a close look at at the man other than noting that he looked exhausted. I grabbed the cash and ran towards the intersection.

I accosted the most wilted looking man I could find and asked,“were you just at the bank machine?” Perhaps asking a stranger if he was at a bank machine while extending a wad of twenties would inspire a yes from anyone. He did, however, have one of those forehead slapping expressions on his face so I handed over the cash.

I skipped merrily back to the bank machine, gleefully proud that I saved a man from kicking himself for an entire weekend. I imagined how awful it would have been when he realized in the hot and sweaty subway that he had forgotten his beer money in the bank machine. I tipped an imaginary hat to my dear guardian angel from my recent dog course, thinking again of how her kindness made me want to be nicer to strangers. I thought about the principle of paying it forward – how an act of kindness can prompt someone to do a good turn for the next person, creating a domino effect of goodwill. It is timely that I am reading “An Open Heart, Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life” by the Dalai Lama. He talks about determining whether an act is a moral or spiritual one. If someone doesn’t steal because they are afraid of getting caught or are afraid of public opinion, they aren’t acting in a moral or spiritual manner that will help their karma. If they don’t steal because it causes others to suffer, they are acting in accordance to the Buddha’s doctrine. I am far from being a good Buddhist. I have not mastered having an open loving heart to my enemies. Instead I indulge in lengthy, elaborate revenge fantasies on a regular basis. I am impatient and often dream of pushing my overly chatty clients down the stairs. I possess a healthy dose of non-compassion in my closed, everyday heart. Nevertheless, I felt pleased with my latest act and felt one step closer to better karma.

I saved his weekend!” I thought smugly to myself, puffing my chest. I imagined the Dalai Lama would smile his beatific smile just for me, if only he knew. I imagine the bank machine man telling his friends about the perspiring angel of mercy who returned his money. I couldn’t wait to tellĀ  anyone who would listen. “My karma rocks!” I almost yelled out loud. Then again, how great is your karma if you have to shout it from the rooftops? I’m sure Mother Teresa wasn’t high fiving herself on a regular basis. How much is a good deed cheapened by endlessly crowing about it? My karma probably still has a way to go.

8 Responses to “Good Deeds and Sunshine”

  1. SandraDS27 Says:

    Crowing is all part of the ‘paying it forward’ n’est pas??

    Seriously, if you can’t have a cart-wheeling, high fivin’ happy moment when a good deed is done..what’s the bloody point? They’re ‘happiness’ endorphins …right?? Goodness abounds in energy…and karma from rooftops is a good thing :) Pay it forward baby!!!

  2. cheap girl Says:

    You’re right! I’m going to get back on the roof for more crowing!

  3. Eloise Says:

    You deserve some self-kudos for this. It doesn’t all have to be sackcloth and ashes. You can at least tell the significant other about it, with glee. And I don’t think the guy whose weekend – and maybe week – would mind a bit! I’m sure he’s crowing about you 8).

  4. cheap girl Says:

    Thanks, I’ll keep on crowing and take off my sackcloth!

  5. drollgirl Says:

    ha!!!!!! you did the right thing! yay! i will shout it out even if you won’t!

    this is TERRIBLE to admit (and you will hate me for it), but a few years back i got free tickets to see world music concert at the hollywood bowl. not realllllly my kind of music, but i decided to go with a group of friends. free tickets!!! FREE TICKETS!!!! we HAD to go! well part of the concert included a guest appearance by the dalai lama. he was at the mic a LONG TIME. a VERY LONG TIME. and he was saying all sorts of things he believed in and doling out advice. and all i could think was ARE YOU DONE YET?!?!??!? NEXT!!!!! FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, STOP TALKING!!!! LET’S GET THIS CONCERT GOING!!! lol

    yes, i will burn in hell for all eternity and/or i deserve every bit of grief i get in life! d’oh!

  6. cheap girl Says:

    I couldn’t possibly hate you. I saw the Dalai Lama a couple of years ago and as he was talking there was someone a few rows behind me who had the most annoying cough and they wouldn’t stop coughing and they wouldn’t leave and it was driving me crazy. I HATED them with my entire being. All I could think about was how annoying and stupid and irritating they were. I was consumed with hate. So I’ll see you i n hell!

  7. Bella Says:

    Kristine, I think you’ve earned the right to “crow” about your good deed. After all, it’s not every day that someone returns money to you! In your case, you did the returning and I can only imagine the man’s surprise when you handed him his cash. Good for you for paying it forward. The world needs more acts of kindness and compassion and I’m glad you’re already contributing! :)

  8. cheap girl Says:

    Thanks. I am happily crowing!