Sunday, 30th March '03
How to Be Good
The title of this particular entry comes from Nick Hornby's book of the same name. I don't want to get too philosophical, so I'll keep this short.
I guess it's a good time for me to be reading this, since I'm experiencing a "crossroads in my life" time now. The plot recounts Katie Carr's feelings as she finds herself falling into an affair (how DOES one do something like that) and question's her sudden departure from her "good self". She always thought of herself as a good person until this, and when her once crabby, lout of a husband, David, suddenly turns good, she is even more disturbed. David's good isn't just the "nice" kind of good, but the "take a homeless person into your home, donate a whole computer to the needy" kind of good. It gets to a point when David is ready to give away their freshly cooked meals to a shelter in favour of eating leftovers themselves.
Of course this makes me question what it means to be good. This is Hornby's intent, after all. And yet I haven't got any real answers. What defines the line between good and bad? I, for one, will not be taking a perfect stranger into my home anytime soon, sorry as I might feel for his/her circumstances. Yet I know this doesn't make me bad - it makes me human. But how far should I be trying? I'm not obliged to buy tissues from a blind old lady if the other person helping her evidently has salon-dyed hair, am I? They can jolly well work for their living.
And then there's the problem with just pure feeling. I can't help it if I dislike someone, or I'm nicer to some people than others. I don't owe them anything. But why would I feel bad about it? I can't be giving everyone my all, or I'll just burn out. Sometimes I'll feel guilty when I realize that I care more for my pet dog than a non-immediate family member. I might find I don't want to spend time caring for that family member, talking to him etc. I mean, I'll still try, but it doesn't come from the heart. And I feel like an evil person a la Channel 8 dramas.
So I'll thing I've got a rough guide to being good. For now, at least. If it doesn't make me lose sleep at night, I should be alright. I'll just pray for forgiveness on everything else. He has to understand. *casts a pleading look heavenwards*
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]