Nothing to say

Lately, it seems, music is my only way of speaking. Those words of Imogen Heap spin round my mind.

Mmmm whatcha say,
Mmm that you only meant well?
well of course you did
Mmmm whatcha say,
Mmmm that it's all for the best?
of course it is
Mmmm whatcha say?
Mmmm that it's just what we need
you decided this

And it's like those words are enough. For the moment. Isn't it that way with most relationships. Time and again I am blown away by how naturally selfish people are. Just how little they truly care for other human beings. By how egocentric, self-serving, egotistical we are. A certain amount of self-esteem is, of course, necessary for all healthy people. But, slowly, I've come to believe that our generation has overdosed on this small measure. And we are a society of gluttons. In more ways than one. How many people have rationalized their selfish actions through the immortal words of Heap. "That you only meant well...that it's all for the best...that it's just what we need."

The man I thought I knew, that I thought I trusted, that I thought I loved, that I thought loved me, said to me yesterday that he "sacrificed everything to be with" me. The words stopped me cold. Sacrificed for who? For what? Normally sacrifice denotes something done on behalf, or for the gain, of someone else. What do I gain here? Nothing. Today's world denotes sacrifice as a personal gain. You sacrifice for your own gain. He "sacrificed" so that he could gain more. He lied so that the game could play on. And he would have continued to do so. That is less sacrifice than personal gamble. What is this world we live in now?

I was up in the Bay Area a weekend ago, and when I got into town I bought a BART ticket with $10 on it. On my way into town from the airport, I realized that my ticket had disappeared. Either I'd misplaced it, or someone had helped that occur. Whatever the case may be, I figured that it was something easily remedied. Maybe the BART agent would give me a replacement ticket, maybe it would just be my loss...hopefully not. At the exit, I took the elevator down. And while the open air and street was to my right, and others walked on out without swiping their passes...I decided to deal with the situation. I went over to the agent.

"Sir, I have a bit of a problem."

"You have to go through the gates and swipe your ticket," he said brusquely.

"That's just the thing. I can't seem to find my ticket. But I did buy one at the airport for $10," I said, gesturing to my large suitcase. "I think it may have been stolen."

"A lost ticket pays $5.40," he said.

"Oh, so I only lose a couple dollars?" I trailed off...thinking.

"A lost ticket pays $5.40," he barked again.

"Oh, I have to pay that fee? In addition to the $10 I lost? I could have just walked out of here, as those other people did."

"You have to pay or that's a $300 ticket you're going to get!"

"But I don't want to pay anything more. I understand why you have this rule here. But I'm telling the truth. You can see my suitcase. I regularly ride BART when I'm here. I mean I could have walked out."

"And I'll have you arrested. If there are policemen out there I'll have you arrested right now. And a $300 ticket written up for you."

And, maybe it was all that I've been through recently. But I got a bit emotional. My eyes welled up.

"Where is your humanity? Where is your kindness and compassion?"

"PAY!" he barked, motioning his hands away in a wave at my words and glaring at me as he had throughout our encounter. "YOU MUST PAY. Do you think I can change the rules just for you?"

I opened up my wallet, openly bawling by now. Those who know me, know this is not "usual" behavior. Whatever that is. I paid the man. Then I told him I hoped he got *his* back. Whatever that means. It was meant to be menacing. I wanted him to feel frightened. He just smirked at me and waved his hand away. Smirked at my tears.

And I felt again, so empty, so betrayed. So cold. What has happened to people?

True, he was doing his job. But are we so callous and uncaring that regular interactions cannot be more humane. That we cannot look at a situation and react with kindness? He could have sympathized with me, he could have explained his predicament, he could have done many more things than what he did. Why?

There are no answers to my question. I ask "why" nearly every day now. I wonder why people are as they are. I was told to invest less in each interaction with people. That if I didn't care so much, I wouldn't be affected as greatly. Is that the answer to living in this world?

Is that a world I want to live in?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No, that's not how you want to live. While the world is teeming with self-centered people, the are others out there who share your exact views. keep your head up. You'll find them.