They say that if you do good things, good things will happen to you. I’ve always been amazed by how this works… All my life I’ve had good things happen to me in the most unexpected ways. Then again, I do good things for others too.
Its never a quid pro quo arrangement. I don’t do something good for someone who’s done something good for me. For instance, I give things away to people who need them, I rarely sell things I no longer need. Then, when I need something, someone else will give me something to help me out.
Its really quite cool how that works.
Many years ago, I lived in Melbourne and used to dance rock’n’roll about 4-5 times a week, going to pubs to follow bands. One of the most popular places to go on a Sunday afternoon to watch a band and dance had changed hands and was no longer doing rockabilly on Sundays. I missed it. So, when I bumped into an old classmate from art school who he told me his family had bought the pub, I instantly asked him to consider bringing back rockabilly. I gave him the phone numbers of the bands I knew, I recommended good bands which would draw a crowd and gave him advice on how to run it.
A few weeks later, rockabilly was back on the menu on Sunday afternoons.
It never occured to me to ask for anything in return. I gave my advice cause I wanted somewhere to dance again on a Sunday (selfish!), but also to help out a friend who said that their Sundays were quiet. He was happy, I was happy. I went there every Sunday and paid a cover charge just like everyone else. Until another friend of mine pointed out to the owner that he owed the Sunday success to me. From that point on I got in for free (a saving of $5), but I already had what I wanted. I felt good.
I asked a friend of mine at the time if she could give me the phone number of another band she knew well, so I could pass that on and they could be booked to play on the occasional Sunday. She wanted to know what was in it for her. Getting the band a gig and having somewhere to go to enjoy their music wasn’t enough for her. She wanted a spotters fee.
I never understood that mentality. When you do something for someone, you do it cause you want to, otherwise don’t do it at all. A friend will help you paint a room or move house cause that’s what friends do. Sure, I’ve offered to pay friends to do jobs for me, but in most cases its cause I wanted more help than they were able to give me on their own terms. When I was getting my house in Melbourne ready to sell, a good friend helped me repaint it. We didn’t get enough done on the weekend so I paid her to stay a couple of extra days. She was a student and needed the earnings from her job to make ends meet. I couldn’t ask her to miss work for nothing in return.
When I broke my ankle a few years ago and was laid up in my house, in a new state and knew only one neighbour, I got the most unexpected gift. Someone I’d only ever heard of from a discussion group called the local store and sent them some money for my groceries. I’m amazed that someone would do that for a stranger.
People can be so surprising. Especially when you don’t expect it.
On the other hand, I’m also a great believer in asking. I figure there’s no point in being shy or afraid to ask. The worst that can happen is you get a no. My ego can take that.
Yesterday when I went to pick up the work van I noticed a trailer load of rough timber boxes on the back of a trailer behind the business next door to work. There was a man working in the garden. I asked if the boxes were going to be thrown out, and if so, could I have them. He asked if I wanted them as planter boxes cause that’s what he’d thought of using them for, offered me some of them, then said I may as well take them all (9) and save him carting them around. I now have a stack of boxes in my drive waiting for a new home and plants!
Wayne was like ‘What’s that? More stuff!’ and this morning he was ‘I like those boxes, I may steal some…’
But the best was a phone call I received yesterday afternoon. On Sunday, when I picked up Merrill to take her to the airport, she pointed out a stack of underlay and carpet in the neighbour’s carport. The house has recently sold and they’re obviously rennovating and the old carpet is in the carport, most likely to go to the tip. She suggested I take it for the casita. I said I couldn’t go into someone’s yard without permission to take something which may or may not be destined for the tip. Different if its on the nature strip. Then its first come best dressed. For all I knew the guy had another use for it. So I went in and left a note on the stuff.
Yesterday afternoon I got a call from a man who was so thrilled that I left a note. He said he thought it was nice of me and cool to find the note, and that I’m welcome to take as much of it as I want. He was planning to take it to the tip on Saturday. He also asked me to stop by and introduce myself if he’s there next time I see someone in the house.
I made his day and that makes me feel nice. Plus I get new (old) carpet and underlay for the studio area of the casita and the grooming room! 🙂 Win win.
Well, the pre Christmas stuff won’t get done by me sitting here writing blogs. Better get off my butt and get started.