When you hold a door open for someone and they demonstrate zero gratitude, which of the following thoughts engulf your mind?
(a) “Madonna really does have a hideous live voice!”
(b) “I need fried chicken.”
If you’re anything like me, ‘a’ & ‘b’ forever prevail in your thoughts, but in fleeting moments of door-based social injustice, you’re definitely showering that arrogant schmuck with inaudible bile.
So, as we all clearly hold social expectations, why are we so quick to dismiss ‘karma expectations’. We live in a world where good deeds are encouraged, but only on the proviso that these deeds are done selflessly and without expectation. How many times have you heard, “You should do nice things without expecting anything in return.”? Well, one of my best mates [entrepreneur Jon Covey] thinks you’d be crazy to do anything selflessly. More on that shortly.
On Tuesday 31 May, as I waited to board the coach from Sheffield to London, the gentleman in front of me started to panic – turning to me and saying, “oh no, my phone battery just died, and my booking confirmation is on it.” He then relayed this to the coach driver, who with genuine sympathy said, “aw, I’m so sorry, but we can’t let people travel without seeing their booking.” This, of course, heightened the chap’s state of fluster.
“um, was your confirmation sent to a gmail account?” I interrupted
“Yahoo!” the man replied
“Okay, log-in on my phone.”I offered
“Oh, thank you!” he beamed
“No worries, but I’m not an idiot, you can wait here while I go claim a seat first, I’ll be back.” I declared – shoving the man & driver aside as I skipped-off to claim an isle seat. HAVE YOU PEOPLE SEEN MY GIRAFFE LEGS LATELY? FUCK WINDOW SEATS!!
FastForward four-hours, and our coach eased itself into Victoria station. As I gathered my belongings, an outstretched hand wafted inches from my face. It belonged to the chap who’s journey to London was saved my Super CK – and once again, just as he did four hours earlier, he conveyed sincere gratitude for helping him out, this time, via a sturdy handshake. I shook his hand, topping it off with, “Really, it was a pleasure, have a great day.”
Moments later, making my way to my hostel, and without any shame, I thought to myself, “Right, that’s my good deed for the day, can’t wait to see what I get in return!”
[I’m guessing this is the bit where you all go off me and think, “Nob!! Why should you expect/want anything in return? You should do good deeds without expectation. CK, I never knew you were such a vile human. I’m disgusted. Delete my number from your phone. Don’t call me. Don’t email me, and oh, you’re a shit presenter and your photography reminds me of ass.”]
Fair point, but multi-award-winning motivational speaker, entrepreneur and one of my best mates Jon Covey has something to tell you…
“Don’t ever do kind things because you want something back… do kind things because you’re a kind person. However, and here’s the special bit, once you’ve unburdened yourself with a reflex display of kindness, it’s your obligation to yourself and the wider world to be open to reciprocal kindness. Remember, as humans, we find whatever we’re looking for. If, for example, you route through your partner’s phone seeking ‘dirt’, guess what… you’ll find dirt!. If, in contrast, you put nice things into the ether and anticipate receiving nice things back, trust me, nice things you will receive.”
[Cheers Jonny… I’m a little annoyed you haven’t said anything in defence of my photography, but you’ve always been a bit of a selfish nob]
Yesterday afternoon, Thursday 2 June, I was sitting in an unassuming but still glorious pub in Notting Hill. I spent much of my time ear-wigging the conversation between three blokes sitting at the other side of the room. The room was vast, but not as vast as their voices. I couldn’t glean the exact content of their conversation, but I was attracted to their chat due to snatches of dialogue I overheard, which included;
“… well, I sent her my showreel, but haven’t heard back from her yet.”
“… Judie Dench is class, though.”
“oh yeh, you were in that thing with Johnny Depp weren’t you?”
“MARLON BRANDO IS ONE OF THE WORST ACTORS OF ALL TIME!”
“My round… what’s everyone drinking?”
Having overheard this tantilising narrative for approx twenty-minutes, I couldn’t bear it any more, and fueled by an incident the previous day that still haunted me [I overheard a woman on the overground talking loudly on her mobile phone. Based on her conversation, she was clearly a bigwig in the music industry, probably a big label, but I didn’t talk to her coz I wasn’t in The CK Zone that day] I gathered my things, walked over to the pub men, and said, “hey, I couldn’t help but overhear… MAINLY BECAUSE YOU’RE VERY FUCKING LOUD…. ”
Oh, how they howled with laughter.
In the next 60 seconds, I revealed that I’d been snooping on their conversation, that my name is CK, that I present stuff, photograph stuff and much of their chatter intrigued me.
In the next 3 minutes, they told me they were actors, they told me their names and invited me to join them.
In the next hour, they bought me the most unreal organic chocolate beer I’ve ever tasted in my life and told me they noticed me when I was sitting on my own and had discussed how I look like Boris Becker. I let this slide.
In the following two hours, they shared the various theatre & TV roles they’ve undertaken – a healthy chunk of them being work as extras.
The real mind-blowing bit happened when Matt casually alluded to a five-year stint he had in The Bill.
T H E F U C K I N G B I L L?!!!!
I don’t think any of the guys (Gary, Matt, Mike or Max) were expecting the high-pitched girly squeal I dropped upon hearing this announcement, but there are few shows I love/have loved as much as The Bill, in fact, Matt conceded at one point, “you know more about the damn show that me.”
I probably do, to be fair.
Matt was kind enough to reveal tasty ‘details’ about some of the actors who played some of my favourite roles on The Bill. He didn’t reveal personal stuff, just cool stuff like how my favourite character once “totally lost it” in rehearsals because a fellow cast member farted.
Gary also offered some golden kernels about Eastenders – a show he’s been on many times, once again, as an extra.
“Right, we’re off to get food,” announced Garry three hours after I first introduced myself, “CK, are you coming?”
I went – the company was just too great, and Matt assured us the Indian restaurant he had in mind was just 100 metres away. It was more like 300 metres to be fair, but anyway.
I’m delighted to confirm that once we’d stuffed our faces, we played ‘Top 10 Dream Dinner Guests’ – a game that was captured on my phone… and a game I will share with you once I get round to editing the 30 minutes of banter, laughter, squabbling and fun these guys happily allowed me to film. [Apparently, Gary is a camera whore, and never met a camera he didn’t like, hence his keenness to get his mug in on the filming]
To conclude PART 1 of this story… I have a closing question:
“After lending the chap at the coach station my phone on Tuesday, if I hadn’t held my hand out and told the universe to put something cool in it as ‘payment’, would I have met a guy who once acted in one of my favourite shows EVER two days later?
Jon Covey doesn’t think so, in fact, he says, “No CK, no you wouldn’t – instead, you would’ve probably spent Thursday looking through your photos wishing they were better!”