I think I’m going soft. I get a lot of calls, working security. Some of them are completely ridiculous (there are kids playing baseball in the street!) and others are legitimate (a boy is pointing what I think is a shotgun at my house). Today, I was seriously almost in tears listening to a cancer survivor telling me how furious she was that a painting company hired by property management let out her two declawed cats. These cats are like her children and she promised the last owner that she would never let them come to harm. They were the only thing that got her through her cancer because she worried more than anything about what would happen to them if she died. Now because of some douche who couldn’t warn her to keep them in the bathroom for a day, they’re wandering around near a manmade lake with no claws. All around a touching story.
But what happened to me? Growing up seems to have re-sensitized me to things I thought I had long been desensitized to. Suddenly I’m getting teary at movies and talking to people about more than just the weather. Maybe it’s just that I see people as people now, whereas when I was an invincible kid, people were a means to an end. Can you give me a ride to the mall? Will I get an A in your class? But I need this job to have enough money to go to wherever. I never used to like people very much. They made me nervous and they were confusing, and I preferred my own company and my own little world. I’m still like that, but to a lesser extent.
Lately, I keep coming back to this general subject though. Kids can’t appreciate that their parents and teachers and everyone else are real people with feelings and pasts. I know it took me a long time to recognize that the world wasn’t a movie that started when I was born and will end when I die. It’s hard to grasp that no one is a secondary main character in their own life. It’s just too big to wrap your mind around. I probably could have found a less psychotic quote, but this was the first one that came to mind as I was thinking about this: “You kill one person it’s a tragedy, you kill ten thousand people it’s a statistic.” Thanks, Stalin.
Our minds can’t fill out all the details like that. It’s too much for us to take in, and it’s probably an evolutionary trait. You can’t go around killing the next tribe over if you think about how the next tribe is probably just a color-swap of your tribe. Well, some tribes probably did think about that and sat around long enough to get killed by tribes that didn’t have such developed cognitive skills. Now that we don’t have to worry as much about people fighting us for land and resources and whatever else people used to fight over all the time, we can start blubbering over starving children in Africa or babies with harelips.
I feel like I should wrap this all up with an insightful, quotable message about the way people are or what being more sensitive to the plight of other people means to me, but I don’t think things through that far. It is what it is.