Living each day much muchier
I was raged at … full spittle, purple faced, get-out-of-the-car raged at on the road a few weeks ago. The man screaming at me had made an illegal exit from a roundabout, but at the time he didn’t think so. All he knew was that suddenly, I was in his way and it gave him a fright that quickly turned to anger.
He was so furious that he forgot everybody else on the road. He hit the brakes, got out of his car, stormed over to my window, yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he looked up at where we’d come from, saw the traffic banking up (maybe that he was wrong) and went back to his car.Ever since then I’ve been sensitive to every blaring horn and shout of anger.
Living in the city, that’s all the time. Everybody is so angry, so entitled.
I suppose it’s for a good reason.
To process our complex world quickly, our brains are wired to categorise things. It helps us pay attention to what’s important and dismiss everything else into the background. It isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s necessary to survival. However, we’ve become lazy about it.
The instincts that drive our sense of us and them, clan and others, has retreated into the tiniest bubble of our immediacy. Our bodies, our small huddle of kin are all that matters. They’re all that exists against the rush.
In doing so, we forget that other cars on the road are people. Bodies. Small huddles of kin trying to get somewhere safely. They’re not in our way. They’re on their way.
We forget that words on the internet are people; curious, emotional, flawed people whose statements are often misunderstood. They’re not out to judge us. They ARE us.
We forget that there are others sharing our sidewalks and carparks, cafes and elevators. We forget to watch out for them, help if we can, smile and acknowledge them as people.
While we have to prioritise ourselves and our loved ones in the big city, let’s remember that the moving mass around us is full of people who are generally trying to do their best.
Let them merge ahead of you in traffic and you’ll both get to your destinations safely. Step aside on the street and let them pass you while you send text messages on your phone. Let them have a late night party to celebrate their birthdays. Open the door for them. Acknowledge their presence in the elevator.
Let them live and please, let’s all live together.
“The public spaces in which we typically encounter others conspire to project a demeaning picture of our identities, which undermines our capacity to hold on to the idea that every person is necessarily the centre of a complex and precious individuality.”
Alain de Botton