I read something awhile back about how a strain of conservative thought denigrates "do-gooders" as pretty much useful idiots (or suckers) who unwittingly help privatize of the social safety net. What I think of that (de-obscenified) is, "Whatever. I don't agree with you, and I wouldn't want to be you." I think I pay taxes so we as a society can help people who need it, but do-goodishness is in my blood--I come from a long line of do-gooders.
Recently I upgraded my PC: After nursing my Windows notebook along for several years, hanging various bits off it to compensate for its age, I ended up with a work assignment that it was just not up to. So I gave in and replaced it, knowing that it still worked fine for basic computing tasks.
Even more recently, our neighbor arm-twisted us into renting him one of the stalls in our four-car garage so he can park his car off the street. A bit of extra cash every month will be nice, but first there's a whole load o' crap (like, mostly computer boxes and gear going back about three technology generations but also some bound copies of the college newspaper that I worked on 20 years ago, etc.) in there that needs to be moved or disposed of.
This garage-rental situation has been the kick in the pants I needed to move from vague good intentions to actually donating or recycling stuff--and it turns out that the homeless women's drop-in center near me has a client who is a full-time student, and she needs a computer. Perfect. So I wiped out all my data and reinstalled Windows (and downloaded the endless updates to XP), got the persnickety Wi-Fi card working again, loaded free firewall and antivirus programs (I should probably add a spyware scanner, but that might take some explaining), and found out how the organization can get a donated copy of Office. Basically all that's left to do is the physical cleanup: sucking the dust and animal hair out of the keyboard and wiping off the tortilla-chip grease and coffee splashes. Today I'll do that, then pack it in a new notebook case, along with a USB hub, USB storage key, and some cables, and deliver it along with an offer of help/coaching.
This weekend I'll try to clean up the hard drive of the ancient G3 Mac that's languishing in the garage, and take it to the Computer Recycling Center along with some random peripherals that also need a home. And that box of 20-year-old tourist brochures and maps from various places (Mom, why did you think I wanted this, and why did I accept it?) is going to the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, so kids can cut them up and paste the pictures into collages, or dioramas, or something.
I also signed up for a 5K race in the city a couple of Saturdays from now that benefits Girls on the Run. Even better, I get to be a running buddy for a girl who's in the Girls on the Run program now. I can't think of a better reason to lace up my trainers and get outside.