Friday, January 22, 2010

For you. Yeah, you.

Yesterday I was completely excited and inspired to do my give for the day. I bought a really cute card last weekend (made by a company called Mean Cards), which says “thanks…for nothing.” It makes me laugh every time I read it. I love the sentiment to it – very creative use of a phrase. I had decided it was the perfect card to randomly leave for someone, just to make them smile. I took it a step further and borrowed $5 from my husband’s wallet (planning to return $10) and stuck it in the card with a note saying, “Hope this card makes you smile. Have a good day.” On the outside of the envelope I wrote, “For you. Yeah, you.” and on the backside I wrote, “Go ahead and open me.”

I couldn’t wait to anonymously leave my give. I had decided I would take the light rail in to work and leave the card on my seat. In my imagination, someone would get on the train after me, sit down and find this piece of goodness in their day; perhaps they would laugh at the card and buy a treat for them self; or perhaps they would pass along the magic. It was nothing major, just something extra. The possibilities were endless and I couldn’t wait to send some positive floating out in to the world.

The light rail was empty when I got on. A few stops later, three people got on the train and sat in my section of four seats (out of an almost empty car). One man sat directly across from me. I smiled and said, “Hi”. He said hi as well and we proceeded to move down the line. I started thinking about how I hadn’t planned on anyone sitting across from me. The two women next to us were chatting back and forth and I checked my head to see if, in my giving fantasy, it was a man or a woman who came across the gift. I realized I had not gotten that far in the details but generally assumed a woman would be more open to the experience. The guy kept weirdly staring at my jacket (which made me realize I needed to wash it). He had a plant in an instant oatmeal box and a booger dangling in his nose hair. Admittedly there was a moment when I thought, “I don’t want this guy to get my gift.” Then I realized that thought had NOTHING to do with giving and was precisely opposite of the "positive" I was trying to put out there in to the world. It didn’t belong in this experience; I was just trying to control the situation and my expectations about the giving. The guy was friendly enough – who knows what his day was all about. We awkwardly smiled to each other again between out-the-window stares.

The city grew as we got closer. I realized he would probably notice me leaving the card behind at my stop and try to give it back to me. I started getting anxious about how to deal with the situation. I decided I would coolly respond, “That’s for you” and exit the train. In my head, it was the scene in the movie where the music starts playing and I walk down the city street empowered, as the man in the train glides off in confusion and wonderment. When the train came to my stop, I got up and said, “Have a good day.” The door took a minute to open and the guy said, “Did you forget something?” and I got nervous, and then mousely squeaked, “no that’s for you” and ran off the train. I didn’t look back. I was walking anxiously away. A half a block later I came to and thought, “What was that all about?”

It, by far, has been the funniest giving experience I’ve had. I have no idea if the guy even picked the card up. Perhaps he figured the crazy lady on the train, with the dirty jacket – mind you, was acting strange and he didn’t want to get involved.

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