This morning was one of those not quite completely miserable but still utterly unpleasant Irish mornings. The temperatures were warm but the drizzle drenched everything without actually forming much in the way of rain drops. Struggling with a rain cover for the stroller, while standing in the rain, is one of those things that can easily make me reconsider all my life choices for a few minutes of the hopeless struggle to get it to sit correctly on the stroller. The hands get went on the handlebars as the walk progresses. Holding an umbrella at the same time is impossible. Doing everything all over again in reverse at the end of the journey in creche is just doubly exasperating.
In all of this, it is hard for me to understand why I actually stopped, in the rain, on my way to work after dropping off the toddler, in front of the snail that was valiantly trying to cross my path as fast as possible to the safety of the adjacent garden wall. I have no great love for snails, though they’re infinitely preferable to slugs, in my opinion. Whatever the reason, I stopped, and I took a picture. Because, why not?
But then I felt guilty. The foot path I was on is a busy one. People were rushing in both directions in their morning commute, the area lying in between two busy DART train stations and hubs of commercial activity. I didn’t want the snail to get trampled. It took me a few dainty efforts to pick up the snail as the shell was wet and I was doing a credible imitation of a spoiled princess afraid to touch the slimy shell any more than absolutely necessary. The snail instantly curled up and tucked itself into the protection of the shell, letting it fall over on the ground as I was trying to grasp it. However, grasp it eventually I did, and then I carefully set it on the railing of the adjacent garden wall. It took a few seconds for the snail’s head to emerge, tentatively, and only a few more before it turned toward the garden to begin slowly slithering away from the noise and the bustle.
I wiped the rain drops from my phone and stuck my hands back in my pockets, continuing on my way. I felt strangely happy. My first thought was and there is my good deed for the day done. But then that made me unsatisfied again. Where did that expression come from? I understand that the idea may be to encourage people to always try to do good every day, but conversely, just because I’ve filled my daily quota of goodness, does that mean I should just give up on the rest of the day and cut myself off from the rest of humanity by withholding any respect or service to anyone else? That is absurd. Just because I’ve done one good deed doesn’t mean I am entitled to feel like I need to do no more.
I smiled a bit more, having thought this through, and adjusted my conclusion. And there is my first good deed of the day, I said to myself.