Doesn't matter who you are (If you look "different" the close-minded will attack you...)

Had a surreal experience this afternoon. Soni and Rose were late meeting me at Rose's new place to help them move the furniture (a cat Rose is house-sitting for was sick). So, I sat out on the wall outside, drinking in the sky (it was gorgeous and hot), thinking about IDEs and how to make the transition from the simplified world of Turtle graphics to a full programming language gradual, so that the user could grow into the full language without having a lot of "scary" things in the corners. More on that some other time, though I'd thought to come home and work on it this evening. Also had some time to work on my meditation posture (I'm starting to get hunched over sometimes, I think from using the laptop).

The super sat out with me for a good long while, not very chatty, but then he'd just had a heart attack. He chatted with a lady who came in, but they didn't seem to want to talk to me. Lady gave me a really weird look when I smiled at her[1]. Anyway, eventually Rose and Soni got there and let me in and we went up to rearrange the furniture and get the computer set up.

About half an hour into hauling around the furniture, Rose gets a call from the super's wife claiming that I've destroyed the front door and telling us that she'd called the police. We go down and are told that within the last half hour someone had destroyed the front door and they know it was me. Um, why would I do that?

Anyway, police get there and ask the basic questions. I point out the pretty obvious issue that it doesn't make any sense to break into a building I've already been let into. They do all the various background checks, question all of use separately, that kind of stuff. Eventually they seem to realize that it's just not me. So, police explain to the landlady that she's probably got the wrong person and she goes a bit nutty, yells at the police for a bit and they eventually walk away.

I'm willing to allow that with her husband having had a heart-attack a few days earlier she's likely under a lot of stress, and maybe she's not thinking straight, but as the police were walking away she got really abusive verbally. Claiming that "she saw me" and that some lady in some apartment also "saw me" (I'm guessing the lady who was discussing her health issues with the super, who, indeed, saw me sitting out front with the super) and repeating constantly that I should "f***ing shut up" whenever I tried to point out that it was impossible for her to have seem me do something I didn't do.

Which got me to thinking; maybe this is how people turn selfish? Their sense of justice and fairness is violated by someone. They give up trying to help the people around them because it seems that no matter how much they try to help and be friendly and positive there are people who are going to not know you and they will treat you like dirt simply because you are different.

I reject that response. I will not let someone in emotional pain with silly prejudices prevent me from trying to help this world, or jaundice my view of humanity as basically good people who need education. I may be angry at the injustice of her accusations, I may be offended by her language, but it's not her that I can be angry at. It's the culture that teaches her to judge people by their appearance. It's the tragedy of her husband's heart attack, the universal slow crawl into the grave that we all share, and which we all fear.

I have to (eventually) see this as a reminder that we have a long way to go, and that the need to enlighten the world is great. But for tonight I'm afraid my heart is clenched with injustice and I want to scream at the unfairness of a world that doesn't seem to care how much I try to do for it.

[1] Interestingly, as they were chatting I wanted to speak up and try to offer her some advice, as she was contemplating a dangerous course of action (inaction, actually). Maybe I should have spoken up, but her look had seemed so closed and suspicious I just shut up and minded my own business... maybe that's where I went wrong.


Comments are closed.


Pingbacks are closed.