Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Good Deed Day

I'm grumpy tonight.  Poor little guy is on day three of a high fever and cough that won't quit.  My little lady started school, got sick three days later and has passed some nasty bug around to the entire family -- Grandparents included. 

And, now that we don't have a full time nanny...sick days are getting more and more difficult to navigate.  Aside from going even more psychotic with my quest to keep my kids healthy (I already have a 10-step morning probiotic/vitamin regimen) -- anyone have any tips for tending to sick kids and keeping your job? 

So, aside from that, I still feel the need to rant.  For some reason, there is a notion that  people from Chicago are nice.  Lately, well, I just disagree.  Today, I watched another 8+ month pregnant woman on the train have to stand because no one would give up their seat.   I'm just so sick of it.  Where's the chivalry?  I took public transportation during both my pregnancies and not once, NOT ONCE, did anyone offer their seat to me.  The only time someone was kind enough to offer me a seat, was when I was about 4 months postpartum.  I almost punched the poor guy out, but hey, at least he tried!

And, its not just pregnant ladies...I've seen people with disabilities, women with multiple young children (and diaper bags and strollers) and even an older gentleman with a walker have to stand, fighting the crowds and trying desperately to keep their balance.  I mean, what is wrong with people?  I see them glance at the person and then around to see if anyone is looking and ultimately pretend not to notice.  Karma people, karma.

A few months ago, it hit rock bottom.  I got down to the train platform and there was a train just sitting there.  I walked to my usual car and saw a little commotion.  I asked someone what was going on and she pointed to a man in the window -- obviously homeless and seemingly sleeping.  She told me he had a seizure.  When the paramedics got there -- not moving very fast, I must add -- only then did I see the woman who had been sitting next to this man get up.  She didn't look away from her book, not once.  Not even as the paramedics were working on the man, including pounding his chest in what I could only assume was to help keep him alive.  She just sat there, reading, while this man was obviously not well and based on the paramedics reaction, possibly not even breathing.  And, she never moved too far away...because the minute they moved the man off the train, she made a beeline for her seat, as if afraid someone was going to take it.  I was shocked. 

Was it always like this?  Does compassion for strangers still exist -- because I want to believe it does.  Or, does the fact that most people, when faced with a room/train car/elevator full of strangers would prefer to just keep their noses in their blackberry or iPhone rather than face a possibility of human interaction?

So, since I can't change human kind (or just Chicagoans, perhaps) I'll focus on me, making sure I don't make these same mistakes.  I know I'm not perfect, far from it.  I'm not always kind or selfless or consider other's feelings as I make decisions.  But, that's not the kind of person I want to be, ever.

I'm going to challenge myself to a "Good Deed Day", at least once a week.  In my mind, it doesn't have to be big things -- just little random acts of kindness to put a smile on other people's faces, help to make another person's day just a little bit better.  Of course, I want and should be doing these things everyday, but maybe holding myself accountable once a week will challenge me to be creative and thoughtful, and really look for meaningful ways to contribute to society and those in my life I care for so deeply.

So, tonight, I'll do the last dog walk for the hubby, who usually takes this on so I can get in bed early.  And, while I'm out there, I'll get the mail, which is also normally his "job."  And, before bed, I'll clean out the coffee pot and get it all ready for morning -- so all he has to do is hit brew.  Maybe not much, but at least I know he'll get a few extra minutes of sleep and have a few extra minutes in the morning because of me.  Who knows...maybe starting his day to a little surprise will entice him pay it forward with a random act of kindness of his own! 

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