This Friday the 13th is your lucky day. Thank the person on your right (really!) because it’s World Kindness Day. Do we really need a day to acknowledge our actions of sincerity towards life? Like Earth Day, sprouting from the consciousness of the 60s and Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, we take the day to contemplate the impacts of each deliberate choice we make. Even still, although Earth Day should be EVERYDAY, our attention deficiencies have sparked awareness to an hour. So yes, the fact that we can’t take time to focus on the bounded resources of this beautiful planet, yes, yes we do need a day to be reminded of the humane in our humanity!
In celebration of the urban imagined, I think it befitting that I focus on acts of urban kindness. Jaime Lerner suggests that urban kindness is fundamentally entwined with the health of cities. It requires us to be receptive to and promote acts of affection for the city. A love affair with our cities, urban kindness is a relationship between giving and taking.
There are people who go about their business with pleasure or make no secret of the joy they take in their everyday lives.
Taking and breathing in these urban kindnesses anchors us and persuades us to identify. If we identify with the city, we take care of it, nourish it: invest. If we just open our eyes, there are demonstrations of urban kindness all around. Twenty years ago, I was enchanted by the petrol station sign on the southern end of Las Vegas Boulevard. “Free aspirin & tender sympathy.” Cheekiness for the bleary-eyed. In a city of gluttony, a reminder that someone cares. For those leaving to travel back along Interstate 15, this sign probably encouraged a curvature of the mouth. But for others, it actually may have offered some much needed relief. Especially in the desert, kindness sprouts. If you are keen, you’ll notice the sign is no longer at the petrol station. But luckily the kindred spirits at the Boneyard are keeping the sentiment alive. The Neon Museum is definitely an urban kindness.
Thus, every FRIDAY starting with this upcoming 13th for SEVEN weeks until the 25th of December, I’ll post a random act of urban kindness that you can recreate in your little breath of the world. Consider it my Kwanzaa, Diwali, Hanukkah, let’s-just-celebrate-the-goodness-in-things presents to us all. Hope to see you Friday.
[Photos by Vivian Romero of petrol station sign & Standard Wholesale Supply lady, Las Vegas]