This past weekend I went on a winter camping trip in NH with two of my buddies from the NYC area. It was epically cold but I think that we had enough warm gear to outfit a small village of Sherpas, so we held out just fine. Friday night we had made it to the Basecamp/Tufts Loj around 11:30pm and still hadn’t performed my random act for the day. I had been keeping my eyes peeled for opportunities but I’m either failing to recognize them or they just haven’t been happening, I’m sure it’s the former.
After claiming my bed, organizing my gear, and saying hello to friends, I decided to attack the large mound of dishes in the Loj kitchen. The general rule of thumb at the Loj is that you should wash all the dishes that you use. If everyone did this then there would never be any dishes to wash at all, a great concept in theory but it doesn’t always happen in practice. Typically the caretaker for that weekend gets stuck doing a monster-load of dishes because other people just tossed their grimy, used dishes in the sink without cleaning up.
I didn’t have any dishes to clean of my own because we had already eaten dinner before arriving, but I thought that I’d do the caretaker (or whoever else) a favor by cleaning them all. I’m not sure anyone really saw me doing dishes, nor do I think that anyone noticed that the dirty dishes magically disappeared, but the point remains that the dishes got done without anyone making a big fuss about it. On a typical occasion I would have just washed my own dish and left the pile for someone else to take care of, very much a “not my problem” kind of attitude which is one that I don’t like admitting to but it’s true none the less.
As in this case, sometimes random acts of kindness go unnoticed. As much as I have liked seeing the happiness on people’s faces after my random acts, I still felt good (maybe even better) about stepping it up at the Loj even though no one noticed. I just knew in my head that the act, even though minimal, still helped someone out. I can see how doing the dishes randomly every so often (especially when they’re not yours) could be a good habit to carry forward when this month is done.