Helping Others – Man, Interrupted
The alarm rings. Grunting disapprovingly, I hit the Snooze button. Minutes later, it goes off again. Taunting me defiantly. Laughing in my face. I swear, it knows its a Monday. Glaring at it, I viciously retaliate by pressing the Off switch (I pressed it really hard). YEAAAH. HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW? NOT SO BIG ANYMORE WITHOUT YOUR LOUD, STUPID NOISES, HUH, LITTLE MAN!?!?Taking note of the time, I end the tough guy charade and scramble out of bed. Running late- gotta do this fast. Brush teeth. Shave. Shower. Latherrinserepeat. Shirt. Pants. Socks. Cereal. Go, go, go!
I pull out of the parking garage and begin racing off to work, all the while mentally running through my to-do list for the day:
Got that meeting at 9:15, gotta update my manager on those three projects, gotta renew my license plates after work, gotta do laundry so I actually have something to wear to work tomorrow, gotta
Suddenly, my thoughts are interrupted by a woman on the side of the road. No, she wasn’t trying to peddle her wares out of a shady-looking stand. She wasn’t walking her dog across the street. In fact, she wasn’t technically in the street at all.
Rather, she was ineffectively trying to move her gas-less car off the road by herself. She would push it from behind, then run to the drivers seat and try to steer the car while it was in motion, and then get out and repeat the process.
All Falls Down
Ill admit, I was slightly peeved when I first saw the woman pushing her car. I had things to do, places to be, Outlook meetings with my name on the Attendees list! And yet here was this lady, recklessly toppling the highly structured, meticulously constructed Jenga tower that was my schedule.
Despite my initial sense of anger, a part of me felt sorry for the lady, so I eventually decided to pull over to the curb and get out and help her push her car to the nearest parking spot. A cop passing by even got out and offered to help as well.
That day, it occurred to me just how self-oriented our culture has become. Smart phone day planners, e-mail, our Twitlinkedbookspace pages– all of these things have been created to cater to my needs. They are used to balance my schedule. They are methods of interacting with the world which center around my convenience- Ill respond to this message if or when I decide to.
Less and less frequently do we use face-to-face interaction or extended phone conversation as tools of communication with others. These things have been substituted for sentence-long texts and abbreviated wall postings (OMG! Letz go 2 the movies tonite Lolz). We’ve become so consumed with ourselves as a society that when someone else needs help, it can sometimes feel like a wrench is thrown in our plans.
What about MY needs?
So what’s the point of acts of random kindness, then? I mean, I didn’t exactly get a purple heart or gold star for helping the woman because she was in such a hurry to get elsewhere. Likewise, countless other such incidents take place each and every day, yet I’m sure that many of them go unnoticed by most of the general population.
However, I do believe that the greatest contributions to society are the ones made out of generosity and a genuine selflessness in helping others. These are the moments when not only others benefit from our actions, but also we ourselves gain a greater sense of perspective and character for having done so. For what has one truly accomplished when he helps only himself, besides a sense of satisfaction that is ultimately confined to one person alone?
In this day and age, when the economy is down, and the overall morale of our communities is lower than its been in a while, I would argue that its too important not to lend a helping hand to those who need it.
Ugh these Jenga blocks take forever to set up again once they’ve been knocked over.