This blog is welcome to anyone and everyone, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. Unless you don't like writing short stories or smelling bear. Or if you voted for the other guy. Also, I don't really like it when you leave up the toilet seat, so could you stop doing that? Muchas, muchas gracias.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

What We Are Capable Of

Today at the bookstore a customer told me about this. This is fucked up.

I didn't, at first, want to mention it. I wanted to spend my evening organizing and aphabetizing my CDs. So I did. I also hardwired my speakers and made signs for the bookstore. I listened to some really old Beck, and Sparklehorse, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Van Morrison. I rearranged my furniture.

I did not write, and I've finally revisited my habit of writing something daily. I did not read, and my habit (always!) is to read at least one short story per evening. This, even though I've purchased a bean bag chair so comfortable that I can write in it for hours at a time.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother to get up in the morning. No, that's a lie, because I rarely wonder this. But just today, after hearing the story, I wondered it.

Here's What I Need To Keep In Mind

Stuff like this is an anomaly. We hear about one awful thing, and we remember it forever, and we trust the world less than we did before, and it shows in the way we treat one another. But think about how many, many times we've run across the street and the approaching driver has hit the brakes. If the driver is angry at us, it's because we have done something that endangers our own bodies, and no driver wants a piece of that. Drivers and pedestrians alike find the notion of an injured human extremely distasteful.

Here's My Secret and Paranoid Fear, Though

We in the United States have reached our capacity to cope with the awful things that are happening all over the world while we pretend that nothing is wrong.


In the face of everything, we should continue to be civil to one another, to try (often) to treat others as we would be treated if we were given their fate and not ours, and to strive with every fiber to remember those times we have felt love for another human being. I mean, to remember them vividly. Then we must remind ourselves that we are capable of this, too.


Blogger Karen Little said...

When I stayed in England, I had a terrible fear that someone would push me onto the train tracks in front of an oncoming train, just because they could (I never catch trains in SA, so the paranoia doesn't haunt me here).

It is horrific how badly people can lose touch with their humanity, and become such monsters.

3:13 AM

Blogger purplesimon said...

The capacity of the human race to inflict pain and misery is infinite; Iraq, Northern Ireland, London, New York, Madrid, Nepal, Los Angeles, etc: they all bare scars of these things.

However, as I read I realised that people piss me off every day. What is it that keeps me from 'pushing them on to the train tracks' or 'running them down in my car'?

I'm not squeamish about it, no way. But there is something, a little thing in my head that says my life is precious and therefore, by default, so is that person's life. Even if they are a total fuckwit.

Yes, it's still sad that these things happen. I don't have the answer to this social problem, but I do observe this and I reckon it'll be useful for a short story one day.

Life, as they say, is stranger than fiction.

purplesimon out...

3:26 AM

Blogger MilkMaid said...

Wow...that was hard to read. With each episode, I thought THIS HAS GOT TO BE IT, then another victim.


I worked at the Houston airport at the rental car counters for years. The rage you see in people, just having to deal with one day of travel, is astounding. Cursed MANY times over and I even had a woman reach over the counter and hit me once.

I'm thankful I live in the country now and work at home. The only rage I have to live with is if I don't get my big dog out the door to 'peep' fast enough. He'll sneeze all over me til I'm drenched.

Have a great day Ing!

5:35 AM

Blogger ginab said...

Some people are sick. What makes them sick might blur our ability to face love but in the eye love is true and sick is false.

so if you feel afraid don't cover your eyes, don't shield your eyes. I have a fear of heights and that includes ladders. It's all on me I topple over.

7:07 AM

Blogger ginab said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:08 AM

Blogger ginab said...

Have you seen this blog?

7:18 AM

Blogger josh williams said...

Glad you bought a bean bag chair, they are good to sit in and head think, as your lastest post indicates, most splendid head thinkin!
Being a scoff law by nature my bloodpressure raises everytime I jay walk/run, I understand I could be crushed so I run and sometimes I run like I've never run before,like the wind. JW

7:47 AM

Blogger bonniejo said...

It's a beautiful thing, that automatic reflex not to kill! All my life I've heard of folks who intentionally hit animals on the road, but I've never met one. I like to think they don't exist

8:57 PM

Blogger ing said...


I've had the same fear when I'm walking in front of a line of cars that are waiting for a red light.

It's horrific, yes, but people do. It just. . . happens.



Funny, I rarely get pissed. Sometimes, sure. I'd like to feel pissed a little more often. Seems like it'd be good for me.



Yeah, this was the first article I found, and it was also the most jarring. I'm still a little scrambled by it all.

I'm afraid I'd be lonesome if I lived in the country. . . Dogs make great friends, though, don't they?



Sometimes, though, it takes me a while to figure out if "afraid" is justified.



You mean bone-eye? Thanks!!!



My head does a lot of thinkin. And I'm thinkin running might be just as dangerous as being crushed! Quick, we must think our way out of this quandary! Put those money-making marbles together and think!

[Please follow up when you've done enough thinkin and we will combine our marbles and become fabulously wealthy. Pennies make dollars and dollars buy houses, so says my Uncle John.]



I've heard of this too, I'm afraid. I hope I haven't met one but I'm pretty sure I have, back when I was a kid. And once, later, I think I met a lot of them in quick succession.

I never think there's any of them in San Francisco.

9:57 PM

Blogger matty said...

How did I miss this posting!?!? I agree. Lovely stated.

You know that fear that Karen Little mentions? About getting pushed on to the subway train tracks? I share this fear -- only mine continues. I think of it every time I go down to a platform. Every time for the past 12 years or so --- after I heard that this happens more than one thinks (in NY) ...most likely an urban myth but it haunts me.

I corrected a patient the day that the driver lost it. She told me that she had reached a point where she just hated the world. I told her that she didn't really hate the world. She just had anger for some of the sad souls roaming on it. She paused and told me she agreed. I then told her that I felt it was those lost souls who really need some positive energy sent to them.

...the only thing is I have too much anger at those lost souls to send them any positive energy. So, I just gave it to that patient and to the kind souls. It is up to them -- and to us, to make a difference. ...but it would be cool if we could rise above it and send out some good energy to the lost ones.

For now -- I am just playing my glitter disco and am happy. Sugar, anyone?

8:22 AM

Blogger The Electric Orchid Hunter said...

I have absolutely nothing profound to say... except that this should not have to happen, and that it upsets me. And that somehow I'm not surprised...

5:18 AM


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