Monday, January 24, 2011

Community. Buses.

I was on one of four buses on yesterday. Someone else's broke down on the highway about dinnertime. Lost a tire and in the dark, the drivers of my bus and the one with the lost tire scampered betwixt the traffic to find it.

Within a quarter of an hour, at least two people around me suggested the other three buses should leave. With the road service not arriving for 2+ hours, I tried not to think about what that would mean. It would mean abandoning an entire busload of people so three for every single one could make it back to the compound on time for dinner. It's not barbaric. It's not even cruel. It's...just without empathy or an understanding of what it means to be a community.

And that's not even strictly a utilitarian analysis. It avoids the question of how much it would cost the people left on their own on a bus in a place where they can't urinate or defecate for two hours while the lucky people get to carry on so they can get dinner. Let's not misplace my outrage. I'm sure, given enough of a timespan, I'd say to leave the bus. But it didn't even get to forty five minutes before people were talking about ditching their fellow travelers so they could be more comfortable while affixing more suffering to their fellow travelers. People they know! Maybe even like!

I know there's the joke about cannibalism that people resort to it too early, but seriously! Gimme 45 minutes. At least! That, apparently, is far too much to ask. It's disappointing. Are people really that selfish? I tried to convince myself, when I was on my hands and knees, cleaning up broken glass, at 7 a.m. yesterday morning, in the dark, that people really aren't that bad. It's harder to sustain that line of thinking when you're being insulted by the same guy whom you let in when he was interrupting your sleep 4 hours ago, cleaning up tiny pieces of glass, apparently too loudly.

Man, fuck that guy. And to be fair, there's a little bit of him in me, when I feel like being imperious and an asshole and who knows what the shit else. Of course, it's not for him that anyone is kind, right? They're kind and generous and patient because they want to be, feel like they're compelled to be, ought to be, or maybe, because they don't want to be like him or contribute to that.

I hope.

Songs For Teenagers seems appropriate here, if only for it's title. It's a great song in its own right, and if you look around on youtube for it, you'll find not only the original version by Florida's Fake Problems, but also a cover by The Gaslight Anthem. Enjoy.

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