It's amazing to me sometimes how easy it is to make someone's day a lot better, simply by taking a few minutes to help them out. It could be taking 10 or 15 minutes to help a professor set up some tech so they can deliver an old lecture in a new way. They're grateful for the help, and their students may become more involved than they might be otherwise. This is not a big commitment, either in time or effort, so it does not seem like a big deal to you, but it is to them. Or it could be loaning a friend a spare set of old speakers so they can listen to music in their office as they work. It's not like you're out anything - those speakers have been sitting on a shelf, collecting dust, for months - but to them it's the difference between a long, boring day in a little, poorly lit cube in silence, and at least being able to listen to the radio or their MP3 player for a while. Or it even could be as simple as telling people they are welcome to help themselves to a cup of coffee from the pot in your office. Never mind the fact that there's only the little pink packages of fake sugar* - the fact that it's good coffee and they can get a quick caffeine fix for free (even if there is a donations cup) is enough for them.
And do you really expect anything back for doing these things? No, not really. It is simply the fact you have made their day better. And karma has a way of coming around when you least expect it.
*Personally, I won't touch that crap. Pretty much the only thing I add to coffee is either whiskey or Irish cream, and even those I don't add very often.
What prompted this? I really have no idea. Yes, all the things I described above happened today, but things of this nature happen on a pretty regular basis, so I don't think that's it. This was triggered by something else, I think, but I'm not sure what.
There are probably times I seem to be overly cynical and angry. This is really only partly true. True, I do get angry at times, but it rarely lasts long, and more often than not, it's less true anger and more plain annoyance. This is how you know I'm not a pessimist. If I really didn't have any faith in humanity, I would either be far more angry or simply apathetic. As far as being cynical is concerned, in general, I am. But I'm a happy cynic. I may decry the breakdown of society, but I'll have a rueful smile on my face the whole time. As the Grateful Dead said in one of their songs, "I may be going to Hell in a bucket, but at least I'm enjoying the ride!"