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 youth.

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.