Rants & Essays
My Insane Appreciation Of All People
By Brother Cadfael
A Shared Insight Into a Moment of His Own Lucidity
Most of my life is spent bemoaning and insulting ignorant
people. I poke fun at and am disgusted by white-trash and religious nuts. I
despise yuppies and geeks and preppies and... Well, anyone who isn't exactly
like I am.
The way you should be, anyway.
Yet, there are times where I see someone do something or
hear a story of great proportion which touches me. I see a raggedly clothed man
huddling in the doorway of a closed business on a freezing morning and suddenly
realize that his plight is much different than mine. Perhaps he came to be
where he is because of his own stupidity, but he cold just the same.
Or a mother who has two kids and hasn't even grown out of
her teenage years. My first thoughts are that she had massive problems growing
up and that she's another welfare mother and will slack around with a bunch of
loser boyfriends until her children are grown and fucked up, too.
Or the man who comes to repair the telephone lines. Or the
kid who works at the fast food joint. I am disgusted by them all, at first,
because of their lack of ambition and apparent worthlessness.
But then I think, "Why is the need for them to travel their
path less important than my need to travel mine?"
Perhaps I'm learning this late in life (twenty), but it's an
amazing revelation to one's psyche when one realizes that nearly everyone wants
to do well and wants to be someone. They don't always achieve it and some spend
all of their time inside of a house, eating Dryer's and pizza and watching
talk-shows. But this doesn't mean that they do not desire to be something. A
lot of them have merely given up on the hope of ever realizing a worth.
Mindlessness consumes them and the dreams they had become fodder of their
But I digress...
The other evening, I returned home on the bus and a woman
helped her wheel-chaired seven-year-old up the steps. I couldn't look at him or
his mother. I turned away and cried as I watched out the window.
My expectations of life and my demands of life are to become
someone. If not to achieve wealth, I want fame. If not fame, I want to find
adventures that will make my life worth reminiscing when I'm older.
But this kid. He certainly could not expect or achieve the
same things that I would want to. Perhaps he wouldn't even wish to. But
whatever he does do, so long as he does it with all his heart, is an amazing
contribution to the rest of us.
There was another handicapped person. An elderly man who was
in a wheelchair. He was waiting for MAX (our light-rail/train public transit
system) and when it came, he saw the new design of these trains which had been
purchased this year to replace the old ones.
The new trains no longer have steps, requiring a special
hydraulic-lift and a train operator to assist the handicapped. These new ones
are level with the station and you merely press a button. A small ramp slips
out, you roll your chair on, and it slips back in. What once became a spectacle
and took several minutes is now done as quickly as an able-bodied person.
The old man's face lit up and his voice cracked as he turned
to me and said 'You know, for the first time in my life, I can be in the world
just like you.'
I just smiled. What else to say?
I guess what I'm trying to say is that, priorities and
expectations and courses of life are different for all of us. Some of us may
never reach what we wish that we could. Other's of us will never even try. But
that part of us that exists unilaterally (though it may be extinguished)
encouraging us to succeed and take the spot-lite and live our lives as a
powerful statement of who we are.
I know this sounds somewhat stupid... This whole long
article... But for me, it has been a revelation in the making for a little over
a year. I've always seen other people as morons and losers who's ideals and
expectations were worthless and unimportant when held next to my grand ideas.
I've realized that, in my mind, they are unimportant and worthless-- to me.
Just as mine are to them. But that doesn't detract from the respect I should
owe them. I still feel pity for those who have lost a dream and given into a
mundane existance that will leave them in a grave with nothing to show and no
one to remember them, but they also have my respect. Becuase I couldn't imagine
living if I thought all possibilities and hopes of reaching my goals had
vanished. They may be stronger than I, in a different way.
I suddenly feel humble. I never thought the world revolved
around me, but I thought everyone else's orbit was rediculous. It's actually
pretty cool to realize the intricacies and toils and pitfalls and tragedies and
triumphs of each individual.
I need a hug.