City Life: a rant for a Monday in January

I live in a city which bustles along at a furious pace. Nobody really cares for anyone else when they’re in a hurry. I was walking down the sidewalk the other day, minding my own business, when out of nowhere a runner comes up from behind me and BANG! Kicks me hard in the ankle, almost knocking me down, resulting in a whole weekend of excruciating pain for me. I know I’m just as guilty of this, but people really should learn to look at what’s in front of them and stop being so darned self-centered and selfish when it comes to their walking/running/driving habits.

At the same time, the ladder-lock on my backpack failed and fell off my back. I re-attached the strap to the bag and tied a knot in it to prevent the slip from happening again. I don’t usually carry a laptop in my bag, but that day I had borrowed an Apple Macbook Pro, which I was taking to an internet café. Upon opening the backpack, I didn’t notice anything wrong, at first. By the time I returned the laptop to its owner, he noticed a dent and a buckling in the aluminum casing.

Naturally he screamed to make sure all the neighbors in the area knew what a retarded pariah I am, stating that I’m a “Special Needs” case and that I really shouldn’t be living away from my parents unless I was in some kind of asylum. I told him that he was full of it and immediately made an appointment at the Apple Store, where it was verified that the damage was very minor, cosmetic damage that was not worth the price of repairing it. I don’t think I’ll borrow that laptop again anytime soon.

Can you see the damage?

Pain is a very unpleasant thing, particularly when it is being inflicted by others because of simple in-courtesy towards your fellow people/objects. I’m sure that if instead of me, there was a low, sharp pike in the sidewalk, or if there was a hole in the sidewalk, he would have run into that. Nobody believes in being nice to strangers anymore if they’ve got nothing to gain from it.

Certainly, we live in a society where nobody can afford to be patient, yet we are always waiting, or making someone else wait, often for hours at a time, because we’re all often quite self-centered. This is a citywide social disease, commonly found rampant in any city with a population of over 100,000. Sometimes smaller towns can succumb to this fast-paced urban type “Me First” mentality. Of course I’m no better than anyone else, having grown up in Suburbia and living the downtown life since well before I moved into town.

It reminds me of a rule we had on a class trip in elementary school. The rule, which I didn’t completely understand at the time, was “No Me First.” And was supposed to state that everyone else comes before you do. That was the rule. Because of it, I got lost, thinking that it also meant that asking for information, or directions, was wrong. It must have left a lasting impression on me because I’m still often afraid to ask questions, ask for directions and with a learning disability piled on top of it all, I find I don’t always end up where I should have gone.

photos by Laurence Tenenbaum

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One comment

  • Hi Laurence! I visit you from time to time because you’re so up-front. What’s with this learning disability? You’re brilliant! miriam


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