Friday, March 15, 2013

Kindness, Hope And Self Delusion

Currently I teach adults with developmental disabilities; I do it from nine to three and then either job coach or work with clients where they live. The other afternoon I was with a client at a phone store, helping them purchase a replacement phone when a homeless looking guy started complaining about something or other. The guy looked unwashed and disheveled, twenty eight going on fifty eight- as if he just crashed from a week long meth binge and realized he had some pressing issues on his to do list. I couldn't make out the details since I had to pay attention to my clients needs (since we were being served at the counter), but it was apparent that it was something to do with a mistake concerning his bill payment, and because of their mistake, he didn't have any money left. The security guard came over as things got louder and more agitated, and the chances of a satisfactory compromise of any sort decreased by the second.  It was at this point that a young Black woman on line spoke up. Instantly, my mind raced- oh shit, here we go, flame to the fire, this sucker's gonna get stirred up, but good! Visions of You Tube and Jerry Springer scream sessions and mano a mano videos came to mind...

"Excuse me, are you telling me this is all about two dollars?" Someone answered in the affirmative. At this point, she reached in her bag, took out the money and handed it to down and out, White guy. Apparently he needed money for the bus. "Man has a point," she said. Mind you, this was a store that sells phones and service without contract; in other words, not the kind of place where people with money congregate. No, she didn't save someone's life- she merely got involved and did what a host of other people (including yours truly) didn't or wouldn't do- "for the least of these." In a time when many self called Christians would have rather spit on him as they exit towards their Lexus- she exemplified the "Christian thing to do."

I write this not just because it was a totally unexpected random act of kindness that occurred before my eyes (an act that inspired some small ray of hope), but because it also unveils the common prejudices that have been force fed into our own psyches- many of the same prejudices and stereotypes (regarding: race, sex, economic class, you name it)... that I have confronted throughout life. And here it was spewing up right outta me, this latent bile that infects us all...


Michael said...

When I view the world I see that
Every conceit is mine,
Every treachery is by my hand,
All the violence is perpetrated by me,
All the love is made sour by my mingling
And all the hate flows through the trenches I've dug to protect me from myself.

Stan B. said...