Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Quick Summary

I haven't been around here much these days - I'll get back to that later.
I did meet my goal to be nice on a daily basis - and got quite some niceness in return.

What I did in August:

- Daily greetings.
- Letting people in a hurry cut the line in a supermarket.
- Asking a total stranger if she enjoys her work.
- Freed a goat from a piece of rope the poor thing got it's head stuck in. Basically it was accidentally tied to a gate this way.
- Locked the car door of someone who apparently forgot to do so.
- Held the elevator.
- Held the door.
- Gave directions to tourists.
- Told 2 new Amsterdammers who were looking for a place to practice yoga where to go.
- Helped someone with material for her research, see her comment in this post.
- Brought a bouncing todler from the pavement back to her mum inside a store.
- Been an absolute great tipper, as always.

As you can imagine, this was easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
Barely cost any time, barely cost any Euro's.
And very happy and proud to still be on the right track for my project of being a perfect stranger for 365 days in a row!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Random Acts of Kindness for Tourists

Years ago I worked as a photo editor at a photo press agency. How on earth I ended up there, looking back I honestly haven't got a clue as my main interest as an editor is to edit text, not pictures. But a colleague of mine was as interested in photography as you might expect from your average photo editor. He used to walk around the city with his camera in his hand or around his neck most of the time.

He told me that - almost daily - this resulted in a request by tourists to use their camera and take a picture of them. He would always agree (that in itself is obviously a random act of kindness to strangers) but he'd add a little something extra. As soon as the loving couple, family or group of friends were in position he would... Just stand there with the camera, without pushing the button.

After a couple of seconds, someone would hesitantly point out that the button was on the ... side of the camera... Right there... See? O yes, he would nod, he didn't realize and again, he'd assume the photographer position and... Not press the button. Then, surely, most of, if not all of the posing people would stop posing and THAT's when he would *CLICK*! And hand the camera over with a big smile.

I remember thinking my colleague was a bit of a jerk for doing that, but he continued his story. 'Who needs those dorky posed pictures? It is way more fun when everyone is just acting like themselves. And more importantly: I'll look like a total dork and they'll have a story to go with the picture, in stead of a boring holiday picture.'

I'm not sure if his logic makes sense; maybe most people just toss the picture, but I really like the thought behind his anti-holiday picture.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

London Riots

Yes, reclaiming the streets, one step at a time. It's easier said than done, when looking at the riots in Great Britain.

Why did those riots start? Was it absence of faith, hope, fathers, direction? Was it because crime pays? Was it because commercials raise greedy consumerists? Was it because English politicians have done a lousy job taking care of certain groups? Was it because the police was unprepared? Was it because of racism?

Quite frankly, I don't know, but I'm sure of one thing: there are multiple reasons people misbehaved, and one of them is that people these days seem to think they're entitled to anything and everything.

Why did they loot? Simple. Because they could.

It's hard for me to think that people can do this to each other; people didn't just lose their house or shop, people got killed. It's mindblowing to think that this could happen almost anywhere in Europe.

I find it hard to focus on the good side of people in times like these; humans tend to be disappointing in so many ways. But that's obviously not what this blog is about. So let's have a good look at some of the nicer things that happened right after the riots.

People picked up brooms for the riot cleanup, some folks realized police had been working 30 hour shifts and might like themselves an oh so British cup of tea, and saving the best for last this initiative to help an 89 year old barber rebuild his barber shop that was ransacked by very brave kids indeed.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Kindness responses, slowly but surely

People have started to answer me. I actually get one of the softest, faintest 'hello's' in the world in the morning these days. The evening crew is still a hard nut to crack, but I'm confident we'll get there. One step at a time, reclaiming those streets.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sometimes being kind to strangers is as easy as...

Not being completely asocial. Let me elaborate on that.

Last week everyone in our area got a direct marketing message from a hotel chain, in the shape of a 'do not disturb' cards you find on hotel doors. This marketing tool was hung on everyone's door knob and when my significant other found it leaving the house, he took it with him to immediately throw it in the trash. All the other door knobs were still carrying the 'do not disturb' sign.

When he came back home from grocery shopping, he found another one on our door. One of the other door knobs was now message free. Basically, the only explanation was, that the person who lived behind that door, took it and hung it on our bare door. Why they did this, is obviously not clear to me, but I take it, this person was too lazy to bring it down stairs and throw it in the trash, but was not to lazy to walk over to our door and hang it there.

Now obviously this is not a big issue or deal, but I do feel that this illustrates quite well how we are all living our own lives, not caring too much about the one's of others.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cozy Street Art

There are people out there who aren't just nice to people face to face; they even try to lift other people's spirits up by improving the living space we share. 

Knitted graffiti is one of them. Though I'm not sure if they are the godfathers of this knitting movement for sure, a group by the name of 'Knitta Please' started back in 2005 with the mission 'to make street art a little more warm and fuzzy.' A mission I can only support warm heartily, coming from a rather cold and grey country...

I love the idea of sharing your hobby this way. For this pic I chose a tiny knit bit, but maybe you've seen the beautiful art work some are making around the world. Entire trees get a make over!