This may not be exactly what Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene is all about but there’s certainly a connection between ‘Doing Good Makes One Feel Good’ and the survival instinct of genes, that is the survival of the most selfish and therefore fittest genes.
I’ve been in one of these spells of ‘why blog - who could possibly be interested in my throw-away drivel’, followed, a bit later, by ‘if it gives me pleasure to blog, who cares if anyone else wants to read said drivel’.
That’s me being pensive - via a selfie. (selfish selfie?)
Anyway, to repeat, why blog. Do you blog because it gives you pleasure, whatever it is you write about, even it it’s purely self-centred? Can the general kind of blogging, the kind I indulge in and most of you, whose blogs I read, be anything else but self-centred?
Is there a kind of blogging which benefits others?
Perhaps blogging is a pure form of selfish altruism, after all, it benefits ourselves most of all.
Very well then, I’ll do some ‘blowing my own trumpet’ blogging, having decided once again to take up recording my drivel.
I have been kind on several occasions recently. Only once entirely without an ulterior motive. I had no choice, really. Unlinking a shopping trolley at Aldi’s I noticed a woman rushing past me. She’d obviously just returned her own trolley and was on the way back to her car. I noticed her for two reasons, one she was wearing a bright orangey skirt and two, she was swinging her hips rhythmically at speed, clearly in a great hurry. Having stared at her for a moment I turned my attention back to the row of trolleys; on one of them sat a tan leather handbag (purse to you over the pond), well scuffed and filled to bursting. I grabbed the bag and asked various ladies occupied with their own trolleys if they were the owner of the bag. All of them shook their heads. I kept hold of the bag, I wasn’t going to make the same mistake I had made several years ago in the London Underground, when I found a well-stuffed wallet on the floor, asked the young man in the seat opposite if he had lost it, was told ‘no’ but instantly informed that he was getting off at the next stop and would hand the wallet in for me. Like a fool I handed it over. As he ran out I realised that no way would he hand in that wallet to Lost Property or a station guard. I just hope he stole no more than the cash and returned the rest. Probably not.
No, I wasn’t going to make that mistake again, I would hand in the purse myself, to a supervisor in the store. I went up the aisle and saw the woman in the orangey skirt harangue a uniformed member of Aldi’s staff. As I came nearer I heard “but it must have been found in the shop, I haven’t been anywhere else. Are you sure it wasn’t handed in?”
Orangey skirt lady had a high, angry, scared colour. She saw me loitering, and glared at me, ready to accuse me and anyone else within reach of theft. The member of staff was upset too. “No, I’m afraid no bag has been handed in; I can make enquiries, of course. Have the shop searched.”
Aha, orangey skirt lady was bag lady!
I went closer and brought forth the bag with a dramatic flourish from behind my back. No fanfare, just an accusatory “there’s my bag, where did you find it?” Member of staff joined in the chorus. “Yes, where did you find that?” And, turning to bag lady in orangey skirt “Do you want to check it?”
What? I am handing in a lost bag and my credentials need checking?
Both of them saw my thunderous look and both withdrew. Orangey skirt bag lady finally calmed herself, hands still shaking, and after giving further action due consideration - you could see her weighing up the pros and cons of checking me out v. thanking me, she decided to trust me and fell upon my neck in a short but powerful hug. Finally, I got my “Thank You”.
Isn’t it strange that the two women's first reaction was to suspect me of evil-doing?
This post is now long enough, recording the next act of kindness will have to be postponed. Until next time.