Monday, August 20, 2007
I feel like a dinosaur, or maybe a carryover from a time when, at least in literature, people were more polite than they are now.
In the supermarket, something caught my eye and I turned away from my shopping cart and ran headlong into the cart of a man who thought he was competing in the Indy 500. Knee first.
I didn't say anything but my expression must have betrayed that I was in pain because he said, belligerently, "Don't look at me! You ran into me."
I didn't answer because (a) I was hurting and (b) I was shocked at his outburst.
It seems to me that the appropriate response on his part would have been, "I'm sorry." Or at least, "Are you all right?"
What difference did it make that I ran into his cart (which was going much too fast?) Steel trumps flesh any day. He should have expressed concern.
Instead, he turned around and yelled, "What are you looking at? You ran into me, bitch."
I have my limits. I muttered, "Asshole" under my breath.
Flip said, "Great. Get me into a fight." He suddenly remembered an important errand involving chocolate-covered donuts, and hurried off. Flip is a peaceable person.
The guy made a 180 and rammed my cart. Better than my knee, but still...
I said, "Do that again and I'll have you arrested."
He let loose a stream of profanity and kept going. He probably needed some donuts, too.
We are devolving as a race. Long ago, way before my time or yours, people actually cared about one another. They lived in communities and looked out for their neighbors.
When I was growing up, this attitude didn't exist in most places anymore, but still, people pretended that they cared. It was better than nothing. They had manners, which smoothed over all the tricky areas of life that crop up wherever people share space.
It seems as if even that is gone now. We no longer pretend, and we certainly don't care about each other the way we should. We have become as hostile as cavemen fighting over territory, ripping raw meat from each other's teeth. We inflict physical and emotional pain on one another because. we. can.
Instead of nourishing ourselves with the warmth of good relations with loved ones, friends and even strangers, we have a starvation mentality and compete for the very air we breathe. The fact that there are far too many of us in the world fosters the worst behaviors instead of encouraging us to be even more considerate of others so that we can coexist peacefully.
This makes me very sad.
Today, I want to go and live with dogs.