Monday, August 3, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness

Nothing is as confusing as a random act of kindness. You lose your mental balance for a moment when, for no particular reason, a lady in the office walks past your desk and gives you a Mars bar. When someone lets you change lanes in a traffic jam just before the lights, long held beliefs in "cause and effect" and "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" lie shattered and redundant, even if only for a moment.

I used to think, for some reason, that these occasional random acts were about me. I assumed that despite me not being aware of any reason for someone being "nice", there must have always been some underlying reason within me anyway. Somehow, subconsciously, I must have exuded irresistible charm, leaving the other person overcome and unable to restrain their own generosity.

About a week ago I suddenly realised: it's about them. It's about their power to confuse. They use this potent power to throw others into a king of stupor, while being in complete control themselves. I realised that we all have this power, and are able to unleash it with a simple, undeserved, random act of kindness.

I was onto them, and decided to join them, immediately. My cousin Margaret - Marg to those who'll talk to her - hates the world and everyone in it. She is forever complaining about lots of things: from world politics to the fact that her knives are blunt, and her kitchen draws get stuck.

Marg doesn't lock the doors of her house - funny for a someone who thinks the world is out to get her - so I snuck into her house. I sharpened her knives, oiled her kitchen draws and all the doors and even fixed a leak in the toilet. I left Marg's house on a high, knowing that she wouldn't be able to figure out who or why these kindnesses had been bestowed upon her.

Apparently, Marg came home in a foul temper: something to do with a bad experience at the Woolworths checkout. She decided to get straight into cooking dinner, which involved chopping onions, which involved a knife. She keeps these in the second drawer. Marg wrenched hard on the drawer; which, being unexpectedly well oiled and jam-free flew out of the runners and across the kitchen. I heard later that it took her about ten minutes to get everything back into the drawer, and the drawer back onto the runners. It certainly didn't appear to help her mood.

By the time Marg was ready to use the knife on the onion, she was livid. I'm not sure exactly what her onion cutting technique is, or exactly how sharp I got those knives. What I can say, is I didn't realise that a simple kitchen knife, well sharpened, can cut a human finger clean off. Let alone two.

Anyway, the microsurgery went well, apparently, and Marg should be out of hospital within another few weeks. Needless to say, my random act of kindness remains a secret, and I've since arranged an alibi. Was my random act of kindness a failure, then? Good question. With the amount I've laughed just thinking about Marg, her drawer, her knife and her onion, I'm not sure I can call it a failure.

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