notes from the road

Does it matter where your heart is if the result’s no good?

I recently came to the aid of a lady in need on the stairwell of the train station. She was in her 20’s and was attempting to drag a large shopping cart down the stairs by herself. As others sifted past I bent down and picked up the base as she took the handle and together we walked down the stairs. After two or three paces I couldn’t help but feel good about myself – helping the needy as so many others ignored her meagre plight. Then I crashed back into reality. Though it wasn’t me that crashed, but a bag that slipped out of the cart due to the angle that we were holding it at. As I was up the stairs the opening of the cart was on the downward slant enabling the contents to slip out. The reason that the cart was so heavy was because it contained wine and glassware. The bag that slipped out hit the ground with a crash and two wine bottles and a wine flute broke covering the concrete with dark red liquid and shards of glass. I apologised to the lady profusely and she thanked me for my help and quite wisely decided to proceed down the stairs by herself as I put the messy bag in the nearest bin.

This quick transition of do-gooder to what ever the opposite is cut quickly and deeply. I was the direct cause for her wasting two bottles of wine and the glass probably $50 worth or so. That’s the opposite of being helpful.

Unfortunately this transition was one that I’d experience again soon.

‘I got exceptionally bad results’ is what my sister said. That was three weeks after I had heavily edited and made suggestions to her University essay. I didn’t help much with the content as I know as much about psychology as I do about the iPhone app Viber (I know it exists but not how to use it), I only added my two cents worth on the structure of the essay. So my sister following her big brothers advice made the suggested changes and received worse marks than she had received before. The feedback particularly targeted the poor structure.

So once again I’ve created more harm than good even though my heart was in the right place. I wonder what really matters in the end? If I asked my sister I’m sure she’d probably take better marks, and I’ve little doubt the wine lady would take the Shiraz.

What worries me most about this string of doing good turning to bad is that things often happen in threes. So I’ve got a terrible feeling that by reading this you have been sufficiently distracted enough to forget that you left your iron on and your clothes are on fire. I’m terribly sorry.

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