Saturday, June 9, 2012

People Can Really Be Assholes.

Today I was driving out of a parking lot.  In the crossing area, there were two guys walking.  They were gesturing wildly and clearly yelling at someone behind them, laughing.  I expected to see someone their own age that they probably knew.  Instead, I saw a very old woman struggling down the street.  She was looking over her shoulder at them.  This woman had to have been in her 90s, and she was so bent over that she was basically her own right angle.  She was carrying two grocery bags, making her way down the sidewalk.  Occasionally, she'd stop and rest for a few seconds before moving along again.  The guys I'd seen going past had not only not helped her, they'd also been yelling at her and making fun of her situation.  Then, a passenger in a passing car threw something out the window at her.

What the hell?

Being insanely generous in trying to justify such behavior, I suppose I could see this response if this woman was a known insane resident of the neighborhood that had escaped justice for murder or similar crimes against humanity. I'm going to go out on a limb and say I don't think that supposition is accurate.  What I really think is this old woman, belittled as a crone by passing strangers, was simply alone in the world and an easy target.

I pulled over and got out of my car.  I caught up to her (which clearly wasn't a challenge) and asked her if she needed a ride to wherever it was she was headed.  She told me that she was basically home.  I then asked her if I could at least help her carry her bags for her.  She declined my second offer, too, saying that it wasn't a big deal because she could take the elevator.  She then told me, "Thanks a million, though, honey.  You're awfully sweet to an old woman."  Even though it was clear she had not wanted my assistance, it felt strange to leave her on the sidewalk, still holding two bags of groceries outside of her apartment building.

I'm not suggesting that my stopping and offering some assistance makes me any sort of special person.  I'm certainly no "boy scout."  But, seriously... what the hell is the matter with people?  How is it that humanity can be so uncaring?  And then to top it, why would anyone add cruelty to the mix?  I don't know their reasons, but some people are just assholes.  You can hope that they'll someday have a revelation about the things they do and discover they've behaved in a totally unacceptable way, but you'll probably be disappointed.  I don't hold out a lot of hope that the people that openly make fun of an old woman or through refuse at her on the street are going to be met with enlightenment.

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