I like to play a game. Well, many games, in fact, but one that I’ll talk about today.
I call it Crazy/Thoughtful. The game is to decided whether an action – either planned or accomplished – is crazy or thoughtful.
I have, for example, told strangers they are wearing name tags or informed them that they likely will get a ticket if they choose to park illegally in Somerville. I tend to do these things without thinking – its an automatic reaction, like calling after someone who’s neglected their wallet or umbrella.
But after the moment has passed and the interaction is over, I find myself taking pause, wondering, Wait, was that weird? Or was that nice? Was that the socially appropriate thing to do?
But maybe I’m the only one who needs games to manage social interaction.
And this isn’t just a game for strangers. Buying flowers, sending a card, or really any sort of gift giving not connected to an officially sanctioned gifting holiday. Is that weird? Or is that thoughtful?
I don’t know. I usually just do it anyway, because, you know – whatever. But it’s interesting that there’s such a fine line between these states. Crazy and thoughtful.
Upon receiving flowers, a friend was once annoyed. What crazy person was sending her flowers? But, upon discovering who the flowers were from, she declared the gesture acceptable. “Well…he’s Southern,” she explained.
What would have been crazy for a Californian was acceptable for a Southerner. “They do things like that,” I’m told.
And before you argue that it’s never crazy to send flowers – it really can be. The guy who sent Valentines’ Day flowers to a group of (female) friends he’d hung out with a few times at bars. Crazy. Definitely Crazy.
So these random acts of kindness can be crazy or thoughtful. Or maybe both crazy and thoughtful.
And I think that holds us back. Nobody but a creeper wants to be a creeper, but sometimes it takes little creepy to be kind.
It’s too easy to get caught up in the game, debating is this crazy or is this thoughtful? Shying away from doing something thoughtful because…well, it really is a kind of crazy thing to do. Crazy and thoughtful.
But, you know what I say – embrace the crazy.