I posted on Facebook earlier this week that I often have to struggle between being a compassionate, humanistic person on the one hand, and a misanthropic asshole on the other.
Studying history can provide inspiration to be both: you can look back and find examples of people helping each other in dire situations, and you breathe in deeply, feeling compelled to go and help make your world a better place. But then you read another document and find out that it was another group of people who actually created that dire situation in the first place! So, then you’re deflated and you just want to go punch a baby, or kick a small, cute fuzzy animal.
I guess it all depends on that damn metaphorical glass, and if it’s half full or empty. Honestly, I’d rather just drink the whole thing and not wonder if it’s empty or full (especially if it’s a Jack & Coke).
This week, I’m definitely a misanthrope. I want to go back to Georgia, find the middle of our 400 acre farm and never see another living soul. Except when I had to go to the library for books. Wait, there’s Amazon for that. So no, I’d never have to see anyone again. Ever.
I just don’t see how people can be so damn self-centered and just plain-ass ignorant. Everyday, I tell myself: Don’t be judgmental, don’t be egocentric, appreciate difference for they are the different fabrics that make up the human quilt, blah blah blah gag. I do appreciate difference, but (un)fortunately, stupidity spans the human species, so I don’t have to respect or appreciate it as a cultural difference.
Everyday I go into the bathroom in the library (my second home), and see toilet paper and paper towels scattered all over the floor…even though there are two trash cans in the tiny room. The urinals are never flushed, so I’m greeted with the odor of stale piss. All of this…at a university library. We’re not talking about a preschool here! The people that are doing this are at least 18 years old. Jesus, don’t they think about the people who will have to come in at the end of the day and pick up after them? It blows my mind.
And then, this morning, I was on the subway, heading to school, when the train couldn’t go any further because there was some type of technical difficulty. The conductor eventually found out that something was wrong with one of the doors and it wouldn’t lock. Therefore, as a safety precaution, the train wouldn’t go without all of the doors secured. After spending about 10-15 minutes on the radio with headquarters, trying several different things, the conductor announced that there was nothing more he could do, and we had to wait for a technician to arrive. You should have heard some of the responses that people yelled at the man. “This is bullshit!” “I’ve got to get to fucking work!” One lady (and I use the term loosely) actually called the conductor an asshole.
I get it: it’s annoying, frustrating, throws the rest of your day off. We all get it, people! But getting mad at the conductor? Calling him an asshole? Really? As if he sabotaged the train himself so that you wouldn’t get to work on time…as if he loves being yelled at, mocked, and ridiculed….as if he himself doesn’t find the whole damn ordeal aggravating as hell.
And don’t even get me started on how no one around here can take an extra 0.75-1.5 seconds out of their day to hold a door for another human being. I’ve watched little shit-heads let a door slam in the face of another person whose arms were full of stuff. It’s simply beyond my comprehension.
Are we really in such a hurry, engrossed in our own lives, Tweets, and iPod tunes, that we cant look up from updating our Facebook to have some genuine connection with other people instead of letting a pane of glass or slab of metal slam in their face?
So, after a 45 minute subway ride that should have only taken 12, I walked out of the station and got on a bus and headed to campus. Side note: the delay usually would have put me in a bad mood, but it didn’t for some reason today. Maybe it’s because it was a break from the monotony of daily life: wake up, read, write, sleep, repeat. I kind of wanted the brakes to malfunction, leaving us hurtling towards the end of the line while the conductor and I (because my historical training would be so very useful) tried to find something to do in order to save all of the elderly women, veterans, priests, and orphans on board. Oh yeah, and the family of cute baby animals on the last car.
But, what ended up happening was that the technician came, over-rode the security feature, thus allowing the train to continue even though the door wasn’t locked. I was not quite as exciting, but we didn’t stop at any more stations, so maybe the people on the platforms, who were watching us going flying (again, I use the term loosely) past them, thought we didn’t have any brakes. All the while, the supervisor was holding the door shut with sheer physical strength…aka, he was jamming it shut with his shoe. Riveting stuff.
Anyway, I got on my bus, trying to keep my mood from bottoming out, so I got into a conversation with the bus driver. Believe it or not, we discussed German philosophy (she had just finished reading Kant’s Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime during breaks on her route), the Holocaust, and her ancestry. Then she picked up on my accent and asked where I was from. As it turns out, she lived near Eufaula, Alabama (Google that shit) for several years….Which is just 25 minutes from my home town (I’m from GEORGIA by the way – not from Alabama! Heaven forbid…) So, we spent the rest of the time talking about Piggly Wiggly, pecan pie, mosquitos, chiggers, and fried catfish. It was nice, just talking to a stranger and finding out a little about them. Made me think humanity might not be so bad after all.
Of course, we didn’t get around to the fried catfish until we were at the bus stop, so I stood outside the door as she held up the bus until we were finished talking. So, I’m sure there were some folks on the bus with their earpods crammed into their brain, wondering Why is she waiting to talk to this guy?! What the hell is taking SO long (25 seconds)?! Don’t they realize that I have class soon?
But I didn’t care. They can all take their half-empty glass and shove it.