Update 2016: I actually forgot about this project – shame on me, right? Anyway, reading through this I realized just how awful the grammar is – I was in the process of moving and I guess time just got away, so I will fix all that, and I may take this project up again in the future, though my living situation has vastly changed since. However, I stumbling upon a tweet by Kirstie Alley, her goal was to find 100 signs of goodness by 9AM. I may just try her suggestion and turn it into a month of looking for good things or things of beauty with pictures. So, with any luck, I’ll set that as my August 2016 project and see how well I do. Now off to clean this mess up!
Update two: 7 years have gone by since I first published this project, (things have changed). I noticed while cleaning this up I lost all track of time and place. After I finished reading and cleaning up the grammar/spelling I got up and realized where I was. I actually felt like I was back in my old apartment and it felt like today was Sunday. Reading through it all felt like I was still in that time and in that place. Some of the things I did as good deeds then I can’t even remember while others were very vivid, felt as if I had just done them today. A brief note to myself about August 12th – I wrote that in the present tense, how very odd.
No good deed goes unpunished – I’d like to test that theory.
it all started around here
August 2009: The country and the world is in a hell of a place right now, I’m trying some good intentioned deeds for the whole month of August; in hopes that they will become a positive habit and make this world a little easier and perhaps a better place. Will you join me?
Leave your Good Deeds and/or a link if you’re keeping track in the comment section below and when I see and read it I’ll send or leave you one of these 😉
August 29, 30 2009 Saturday Sunday:
Winding down on the month of good deeds and I can’t think of anything I did where I went out of my way, least nothing intentional, but a few people did some good deeds for me these last two day. A neighbor helped me clean my place, gave me some extra boxes and was overall very kind. Another stranger helped me pull a cart full of my things over a step.
It’s sad leaving this place, especially when it sparkles so. There are imprints everywhere on the walls, memories of pictures and paintings, nails casting shadows and windows that looks out onto a big beautiful tree that can finally see me now that the ash and dust left by raindrops, their dead carcasses, are gone. Everything I own is safely locked up in a 6x6x10 mental box on the 6th floor of a former bank. What I take with would fit in the trunk of my car. What happens next will be a great big surprise. It’s a melancholy departure. So many things I did and created here it’s hard to believe I’ll be leaving this place. In this place I gained no friends, but a few acquaintances. I would like to think more smiles than tears. This blog, and everything that came before and after it, this online life, is really the bigger experiment.
I can’t say much about this good deeds project, no one took an interest, no one read or commented, but maybe good deeds shouldn’t look for those thing; a pat on the back or even acknowledgment. I don’t know if the smiles or thanks on occasion were worth the deeds, perhaps it did more for me just to do them. Frankly, I’m not even sure they were worth doing. Perhaps, they should be unconscious gestures, reactions, naturally occurring according to ones own personality. The world seems to have its own dynamic or maybe it’s all just in the timing.
I realize there is one more day in this month one more good deed to be done. I think what I shall do with this last deed is keep it to myself as probably all good deeds should be.
Is it true that no good deed goes unpunished? My findings are inconclusive. One thing I did notice is that an awful lot of people look straight ahead.
August 28, 2009 Friday :
Pressure is on me to move – I don’t know if this counts as a good deed, but I had reserved a moving truck for 24 hours and found out that, this being a big moving weekend, trucks are in higher demand; a truck can be rented out this time of year every 4 hours. Holding onto a truck for 24 hours is a loss not only for the company, but availability for people needing to move, so instead I went for the van, which isn’t in high demand and made the agent at the rental office very happy.
August 27, 2009 Thursday:
Showed a man at Kinkos how to use the card and fax machine.
August 26, 2009 Wednesday:
Helped an elderly lady in my building bring her groceries up to her apartment and replaced one of the light bulbs in the garage.
August 25, 2009 Tuesday:
Another day at box haven – I have found that liquor boxes are the best boxes for packing books and all things breakable. The folks over at the big grocery store seem to be doing a pretty brisk liquor business these days and they have been very kind in saving just the right kinds and best boxes for me. So when I went in to pick up a few more a man approached me, he was pretty dirty and scruffy looking and seemed out of sorts as he yelled asking anyone walking by if they had quarter so he could buy some water. I figured he was homeless, perhaps mentally ill. I didn’t have any change on me so before I went in to pick up the boxes I stopped in the food section of the store grabbed a big bottle of water and a sandwich for the guy. He was very grateful and loud in his thanks.
This is pretty tragic, I see more and more homeless in the area and like this guy they all look to be in their 20’s and early 30’s – this can’t be a good sign. I was told once not to give “bums or beggars” money, rather give to shelters and hot lunch programs, but during these tough economic times and with so many vets coming home suffering from PTSD I think I’ll change that policy for a while and make sure I have a few bucks on me at all times, just in case
August 24, 2009 Monday:
Getting down to the wire in this moving process… Thinking about all this stuff I have I came up with an idea – There are ten apartments on my floor so I took 9 things I have that are brand new and useful and put them in front of everyone’s door – a package of 4 sponges – bottle of dish washing soap – 2 packs of 4 light bulbs – a pack of AA batteries – a box of blank greeting cards – two bars of soap – a box of dryer sheets – a bottle of tomato sauce. On each item I put a little post it note that said, “Share the wealth”
August 23, 2009 Sunday:
Another busy packing day. I wonder how I collected this much stuff and why it’s so hard to let so much of it go; and I stopped buying anything new more than a year ago. Anyway, I thought for certain I wouldn’t think of a good deed or even find the time to implement it, but as fortune would have it I ran out of box tape and needed to run out and fetch more. On my way out I saw a neighbor who was doing laundry and she yelled asking if I was moving, I think hauling all the boxes gave it away. So I stopped to talk to her for a few minutes; funny how you meet the nicest people in your building when you’re moving out. We talked for a bit and she mentioned that her son’s computer had picked up a virus and the computer no longer worked, she was going to have to take it into the shop and speculated that it would be rather expensive. I asked her if she had a boot disk and she wasn’t sure. To make a long story short… I told her to bring the computer by with all the software and I would take a look. She did, I created a boot disk and fired it up. The best I could figure what ever was on this computer ate everything on the hard drive, fortunately she had the original cd and it was a snap to restore. Unfortunately, her son lost all his work, but the computer is working again and she was so grateful I thought she was going to cry.
August 22, 2009 Saturday:
This has gotten a little harder to do while in the midst of packing, it’s also become a bigger challenge because opportunity and time make it more difficult to come up with new ideas. I’m hoping, like today, these things will present themselves. I called the grocery store and asked if they had a few boxes the clerk said yes and was kind enough not to break them up and hold them for me in one piece. When I arrived I took the ones I could use then helped the clerk break up the stack he had left.
August 21, 2009 Friday:
I’m in the process of moving and digging through some old papers I found a gift card I received to Starbucks. So I stopped at the local one to use it up and paid for the man behind me coffee. He was very kind, said thank you and offered to buy me a pastry.
August 20, 2009 Thursday :
Sadly I’m moving and the worst part about moving is actually moving, so I went through the books and instead of selling them at the resale book store I put a few aside for people I thought would enjoy a couple and hauled the rest over to the local library and donated them.
August 19, 2009 Wednesday:
Had a late lunch with a friend at a fairly busy local cafe today. In the course of our conversation I explained my good deeds project and while talking I noticed many of the tables were still loaded with dishes from previous customers, so I excused myself and started to buss the dishes. The waiter came out and said it wasn’t necessary, but I ask him if he wouldn’t mind if I continued, he looked perplexed and then went back into the kitchen. It didn’t take me long to do, the cafe isn’t that large. My companion for lunch on the other hand was pretty miffed at my actions and clearly upset. I didn’t ask if it was doing another person’s job to lighten their load for the day or that my actions took away from out time together, but for some reason I suspect the former and not the latter.
August 18, 2009 Tuesday :
Was quite hot and muggy today and for some reason I was really thirsty, but I was also in a hurry for an appointment so I stopped quickly at Walgreens to get a bottle of water and noticed this older man sitting near the entrance. From the look of things he appeared homeless, so I went in the store picked up two bottles of water and on my way out asked if he would like a bottle and handed it to him. He looked up for a moment took the water, put his head back down and said what I thought was ‘thank you and God bless.’ I said, “You’re welcome.” I had to run, but I wished now I could have talked to him a little.
August 17, 2009 Monday:
Smiled at everyone I ran into today.
August 16, 2009 Sunday:
The neighbor, who I picked up the boxes for, went over and washed the window blinds.
August 15, 2009 Saturday:
When I was at the store I bought a couple of local bus tickets. When I got home I put one of the tickets in a small box with this card and wrapped the box with some old gift paper. I’m taking the bus to the museum in the morning and the first person who gets off where I get on or the first person who gets on where I get off I will hand them the box.
Update: tried to hand the box to someone getting off the bus at my stop. They raised their hand and shook it, no. When I reached my destination there were a number of people waiting at that bus shelter – the first person who looked in my direction I handed the box to. They smiled and laughed a little, asking, “What is it?” I said, “Open it,” and kept walking. Before I turned the corner I looked back, the person was opening the box, I waved, and they waved back.
August 14, 2009 Friday:
Today I went around several stores looking for empty boxes for a neighbor who is moving. Washed another set of windows on a neighbor’s car.
August 13, 2009 Thursday:
Today I signed up for a local political action committee and took the bottle of Windex I bought last week and washed my neighbor’s car windows.
August 12, 2009 Wednesday:
kind hearts are the garden
kind thoughts are the roots
kind words are the flowers
kind deeds are the fruits
Today I tried kind thoughts as my good deed.
First, I wondered, “Can thoughts be a deed?” Do thoughts have energy or power all their own? And in order for it to be a good deed do I have to tell the people I’m thinking about that I was thinking about them?
What do you think?
So all day I thought about your smile and some of the things you do that make me smile, I thought about the things I find interesting about you, the faces you make and about what you do or are interested in. In my memory I can hear the odd inflections of your voice, the tone, the timbre and how you pronounce certain words. I thought about what I think you believe in and how you look at the world. I heard your laughter.
I wondered if you would feel flattered, embarrassed or think this particular deed was just pretty creepy, if the latter is the case I want to assure you that this is a well intentioned pause and if thoughts are rooted in deeds let these bring you happiness and good luck.
August 11, 2009 Tuesday:
Picked up the trash cans that were left on the curb when I returned home
and rolled them back.
August 10, 2009 Monday:
Tomorrow is garbage day around here, so this afternoon I pulled the buckets from the sides and backyards of the houses and rolled them out to the curb. I upset a few dogs, but other than that no one noticed.
August 9, 2009 Sunday:
The weather cooled down last night and I decided that it’s been a while since I made anything from scratch. I’m pretty good at making bread and fast cakes so I started digging in the cupboard and found a jar poppy seeds, a bag of dried cranberries and sunflower seeds. I had several lemons in the frig and decide to make a poppy seed cranberry sunflower lemon loaf. Came out well, and pretty tasty. I had enough to make two loaves and this morning brought one over to my neighbor who sits on the porch. I didn’t see her, but I tied the bag to her front door and left a note.
August 8, 2009 Saturday: Went out with a friend and decided to stop at the local dispensary. It was a beautiful day so we decided to sit outside on the bench and enjoy our beverages. While sitting I noticed the large grocery store across the way was quite busy. They have a rather large parking lot and there were a good number of cars parked and more rolling in and out. I noticed people going into the store then coming out immediately to get a trolley. I imagine they were busy, perhaps short handed and hadn’t had time to collect them, so I explained briefly my one month project to my afternoon companion then went over and started pushing the carts closer to the store. With a little help from my friend we lined them up outside the doors then went on our way. One other thing I should mention, anything with wheels is fun. I’m torn between wheels and indoor pluming to be man’s greatest invention. However, plumbing is more practical, but wheels are really a lot more fun. I think it’s a tie.
What do you think?
August 7, 2009 Friday: just got back. Today was an easy one. It’s raining and I was rushing around, as usual. I pulled into the parking lot at the strip-mall and ran into Walgreens. On my way out it was really pouring, I heisted running out the door. There was an older woman also in the entrance with one of those old time pull shopping carts. It looked like she just had her hair ‘done’ too. She was wearing a white knitted sweater with what looked like pearl buttons and a blue summer dress. She was waiting for the rain to stop. She smiled at me, looked up tilted her head and raised her free hand with her eyebrows and shrugged. I smiled back and then it hit me. I motioned to her that I was going to swim out the door, she laughed. I ran to my car dodging the rain, opened the door, dug around and grabbed the umbrella buried under the seat. I ran back to the entrance of the store and handed it to her. She waved and gestured ‘no, no, that’s okay, I’ll wait.’ I don’t think she spoke English. I said, that it was fine, please take it. I put it in her hand and gave it a pat. She took it, smiled, bowed forwards a little a few times in thanks and then I ran back to my car. I never use an umbrella, I wonder if that still counts?
Note: I decided not to use pictures, like today it would have been awkward and I think it would spoil the interchange and moment. Actually, even writing about this seems a bit odd and self-congratulatory, but it is a journal after-all and I’m trying to document for a month how to develop a good new habit.
A Few Observations – At first, the notion or idea of doing this seemed to be pretty easy to accomplish, but after a few days I found I was a bit nervous, that I wouldn’t find things to do or they would seemed forced, but so far the opportunities to do a good deed have made themselves apparent on their own. It seems to me that they are always there to do it’s just being aware or spotting them and then following through, but I have a ways to go yet.
August 6, 2009 Thursday:
On my way home I spotted a couple of, um… hippies?, people who are traveling with a dog. They are in the median with a sign that says, “Traveling, Need Food Money.” I’m going back with a box of breakfast cereal bars and a can of dog food.
Update: I made my way back with a box of cereal bars and stopped at the little store to grab a can of dog food, however, when I returned to the intersection they were gone and I felt kind of sad and a little silly. So I started making my way home and then I saw them sitting at one of the cafes so I went over and gave them the box of bars and the dog food. We had a nice conversation and they were very friendly and appreciative.
August 5, 2009Wednesday: Another busy day, hadn’t had an opportunity to do an intentional good deed all day, but on my way home I stopped at the little local grocery store to get a few things and noticed the entrance door was a bit grimy so I picked up what I needed and a small bottle of Windex, a roll of paper towels and on my way out I wipes the door down then went home.
August 4, 2009 Tuesday: Busy day, but before I made my way home I took 3 singles went into the local grocery store and cashed them in for dimes, then took a nice long walk around the neighborhood and the parking meters that had less than 20 minutes left I slipped in a dime. I got a few odd looks and a couple of smiles. Total spent $1.80
August 3, 2009 Monday: In the elevator today a neighbor said she was on her way to Kinkos because she had to fax some timely and important papers, she was in a hurry to catch the bus and wished the elevator would go faster. I offered her a ride, took her to Kinkos and then dropped her at her off for an appointment at the doctor.
Update; this is kind of exciting. The lady I gave a ride to mentioned to the secretary how she got to the doctor’s office and someone overheard their conversation and offered to give her a ride to work.
August 2, 2009 Sunday: Took a walk this morning and waved hi to an elderly women I see now and again, I always see her sitting on her porch, so I crossed over and talked with her for a while. She was telling me about her resent operation on her foot. I asked her if there was anything I could do and she asked me to get her a glass of water. The sink was full of dishes. I brought her the water, went back into the kitchen and washed them. She offered me money, I refused, but she gave me some Chips Ahoy Cookies, I couldn’t refuse. When I got home I finished cleaning out the closet and stared in on the pantry. Took a little break and finished up my blog entry on Americans cracking up, that’s when I got this idea to start making a habit of doing good deeds. Took the clothes and some extra food I had over to a man and lady down the street who help poor folks at their church.
August 1, 2009 Saturday – Hadn’t thought of the idea yet.
The world has changed.
I haven’t, at least in this way, the outside forces have pushed me to lean or move in a particular direction. It’s been a very observable. Treading water is hard work, few have the stamina to keep doing such an activity for prolonged periods of time. In little over a year I have become more of a realist than anything else. I’m looking hard for my ilk now and more determined than ever to crack this shell. Becoming a realist one has to let go of the past in order to move forward, but it’s no longer the easy things one has to let go of, but the things that will shake a person to their core, so profound that even death would be easier nay, a delight, than moving forward. So yeah, serious stuff.
This path, I’ll call it that because I don’t know how else to describe it, is downright surreal at times. You fall under the delusion that you are already dead and living in what seems to be echos of the past. It’s not a delusion, but a strange notion that you aren’t actually exiting in the current time, or perhaps a better way to describe it is the time line doesn’t matter. You can walk about freely, interact with people and go through the motions of what is expected, conversations can seem normal and even every day pleasantries, however, once you step away from that reality you experience a profound separation, and question the existence of that reality. Not that it didn’t or hasn’t happen, but the value of it.
Something inside seems to be telling me it is a disconnection from nature. That that conversation is as important as any other. This doesn’t mean go hug a tree, it’s not kind of connection at all. I hesitate calling it a spiritual connection, because that has it’s own baggage, the best way I can describe it is a silent conversation that can not be translated perhaps outside of poetry, and even that translation borders on retardation.
I suppose I have to think about it a bit more because to mind the only way to describe it is in understanding the consciousness of the hieroglyphics before the Rosetta Stone was discovered.
A strong wind is coming, you can feel the future pushing its way through, and when it arrives you will hear in a loud and booming voice, “Move!”