By that time, too, I wasn’t hungry anymore. I was just sad.
Sad, because this woman was so mean-spirited. She hadn’t heard a word I’d said, not really.
And, since in her world, poor people are always trying to con people (out of bread, apparently), I guess she just assumed I was “one of them”.
Despite the fact that I am a volunteer for a hospital gift shop…most likely she thinks I have been sent over by the Office of Vocational Rehab (another manager actually had asked me if I was a client there), or my parole officer, or who knows from what other social service agency that deals with “losers” like me). Must have been my clothes and lack of makeup that gave me away.
Didn’t see me use my cane? I must be faking. There can be no other explanation.
Faking a disability? I must be one of those welfare queens, making off with free bread and who knows what else when peoples’ backs are turned.
I don’t care so much that she thought that about me, it’s that she thinks that way about every poor person she encounters, apparently. So she doesn’t donate to charity.
“Those greedy ingrates! Why should I donate my hard-earned money to people who don’t deserve it?” <—– That’s how she thinks.
She didn’t want to hear what it’s like to be in that situation. I know she didn’t, because attempts by me to offer explanations such as “people who push grocery carts through the streets possibly have mental health issues” were just flat-out ignored.
I can imagine her thinking on people with mental health issues goes something like this:
- They brought it on themselves by substance abuse.
- If they didn’t bring it on themselves, they don’t take their meds.
- They don’t go to therapy, either.
- Best place for them is long-term commitment to a hospital.
- If they have substance abuse problems, just arrest them.
Add this experience to the Trump and supporters comments regarding Muslims, refugees, and immigrants, and you get a pretty good idea of why I was in tears on the bus home.
When did we get so damn mean?
When did gratitude for having a good job, a home, a car, and enough money so we don’t have to worry that we can’t afford to get our hair cut, or buy new clothes, or buy meds, get replaced with “I don’t have enough, and you have way too much even though you’re poor”??
When did we abandon politeness norms to the extent that we feel justified in asking someone why they didn’t use their cane that day?
Or trash people who use food stamps in front of someone who we know probably uses food stamps?
Or assume we know what the person with the shopping cart containing 6 loaves of nearly-stale bread has to deal with, day in and day out?
Or worse, why doesn’t it even occur to us to wonder about their lives?
I read a lot of blogs. The most popular ones seem to be ones where the author is focused on how hard life is on them (poor thing grew up with sexist teachers in her private French school), how their everyday irritants become earth-shattering problems that are someone else’s fault, or pander to the worst ideas human beings can come up with (all extreme blog sites of any kind).
These kinds of sites have thousands of followers, commenters who tell their own stories of tragedy in a kind of weird one-upmanship/agony aunt format, and trolls of every description.
The best ones – the ones I follow – are the ones that promote thinking, uplift in some way, are artistic in some form or fashion, or give out good information on subjects such as substance abuse.
They don’t have many followers. I really don’t get that.
I know that this blog has very few readers. This only bothers me as regards to social commentary, when I feel as if I am shouting into a hurricane.
And it especially bothers me when my face-to-face encounters have no effect or are not even heard.
To me, the world – or at least this country – has become colder, ruder, more self-absorbed, and mean. Just plain mean.
When that all converts into actions such as not donating to the food bank, hassling people with disabilities, and/or expressing hatred towards the poor/minorities/Muslims…
…or supporting extremists for political office
…I find that incredibly depressing and scary. And I feel as if what I say and do makes no difference whatsoever.
That leaves me feeling old, tired, and crying on the bus on the way home.
Today’s weird news comes from UPI. According to a study conducted by a N.Y. university, when someone ends their text message with a period, the message is perceived as “less sincere” than when the message ends in an exclamation mark.
Of course, the participants were all undergraduates, so it’s possible that these results might be different if an older population was studied. But I think it’s interesting, nonetheless.
And from Yahoo News, in the category of “weird but wonderful”, a story about a man who had less than $1 in his bank account, who took $10 from a recent job he worked and won $500,000 with a scratch-off lottery card (“Aspen, Colorado, Homeless Man Wins 6 Figure Lottery Prize”, API via Yahoo News, 12/9/2015).
Recommendation for this week is The Hallmark Channel, all day every day this time of year! Yeah, I know their Christmas movies can rival their cards in terms of soppiness, but if you’re in the mood for some corny holiday movies, this is the definitive place for them.
I am going to watch all that I can before I go on vacation…my older son came through and is bringing me to Memphis this year! In gratitude for that, I won’t make him watch Hallmark Christmas movies…well, it is his TV and his house, after all!
Be good. Be kind. You can’t stop mean people from what they think, but please at least stop them if you see them hassling a poor and/or disabled person. Stand up to them.