Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Contrast

I was driving to the gym this morning listening to NPR. It's full of news about the massacre in Virginia. This makes me so sick at heart and i was thinking about how am i going to be able to send Em off to college? I was a little teary-eyed, but not too teary as i was driving. How inconceivably awful we humans can be.

The car ahead of me slammed to a halt for no apparent reason. I stopped too, having no choice. Then the car traveling the opposite way stopped as well. I still didn't see any reason for stopping. After sitting there for about 30 seconds, wondering what the hell is going on, a small duck appeared walking, slowly, from in front of the car ahead of me. She proceeded, seemingly unperturbed, across the road while we all sat there and waited patiently. How incredibly wonderful we humans can be.

30 comments:

Princess in Galoshes said...

Funny how life can line up and show you a direct contrast like that, huh?

My heart goes out to the people at VT.

Did this kind of thing used to happen and just get less media coverage, or did Columbine really start it all?

mrschili said...

I keep coming back to empathy. I had a conversation in my Public Speaking class today where I asked my students to define empathy for me, then to tell me about how the concept plays into a class about public speaking.

I was a little saddened that they couldn't adequately define the concept - they couldn't get to the idea of feeling another's feelings on a very real level.

I stand by my assertion that if we could see ourselves in others, we wouldn't be able to treat each other the way we do. I try to lead a very empathetic life - and am trying to teach my children to do the same. It sometimes doesn't feel like much - just a drop in the proverbial sea - but it's really all I CAN do...

caro said...

We have had 2 similar events here in Montréal and I guess you never completely recover. I prefer believing in the good side of human nature as well. Keeps me sane.P.S. Blog is gone. Got found out by someone else. Life is sending me a message :)

QT said...

Yes, I agree, sometimes I am shocked numb by our actions. Funny it is always the animal world that can bring us back around, isn't it?

sari said...

I'm glad to hear this wonderful story this morning. It's nice to get a little reminder about the good in people.

l said...

I'm so grateful for moments like the one you describe. They save me from becoming completely jaded and buying into the dog eat dog world philosophy.

thailandchani said...

Exactly. That's the paradox. :)

I find little moments in time, little things that happen and I'm reminded how utterly wonderful we can all be when we choose to be.

No one deserves tragedy. We all know that. But it comes along.. and we do what we need to do to retain our humanity. (That other stuff ~ Columbine, Virginia Tech, wars, little Tootsi children having to run from the army in the night, babies dying of AIDS in Africa because of lack of affordable medicines.... that is not humanity. That is the aberration. )


Peace,

~Chani

liv said...

All I can say is that I'm happy to know where both of my babies are today. It makes things okay.

Toni said...

It's the 'little' things that get me through the 'big' things!

TTQ said...

My tiny pea of a brain can not wrap itself around this event. So many bright futures gone. So many loved ones gone. And of course the shooter himself..why? Mental health tradgey is growing as fast as the furious rate of life these days. Soem people can't hack it..but why take everyone with you?

luckyzmom said...

Human life has been devalued in increasing numbers.

patches said...

If that had been a opossum or an armadillo you wouldn't have a story to post.

I guess this is the place where reveal how jaded I've become.....I was disappointed to hear about the VT tragedy, but I wasn't shocked. With the gradual evaporation of common courtesy, I have come to expect less than admiral, loving behavior from humans. I have become jaded by real events (Columbine, the Amish Killings), and by artificial influences (television, cinema, video games, music).

By no means, do I find the behavior of these gunmen acceptable. My heart goes out to everyone affected by this tragedy. I have led a charmed life, and am blessed in not being able to empathize with anyone who has lost a loved one in such a brutal act, but I offer my sympathy, and promise to do my part .

Becky L said...

i love your story.

Scott from Oregon said...

None of this stuff is new or unusual.

In any given society, you have outcasts who feel the need to strike back. This guy just did a better job of it than most, and so we pile on the little trite comments and try to forget.

Most humans have an inherant goodness that makes events like this stick out.

It IS aberrant, which is why it confounds us so.

holly said...

we were in meadows of dan at a candy store when this tragedy occured, about an hour south of blacksburg. we heard about it on the radio playing in the background. the entire store suddenly became eerily quiet. the things that human beings are capable of...

Maggie said...

I thought of you and Em today. I thought about Amusing. It's frightening and sickening and angering all at once. I don't want to live scared for me and my children. I wish we could figure out why these things happen. Ok, he's outcast. But why this far? I think devaluation of humans in general is a great part of the problem, and the growing isolation from the people we are physically around as more people are plugged into phones and blackberries and so forth. Not that cyber connecting is bad. Of course I wouldn't say that. Its just that there is this culture of individual rights to the point of asserting those rights even when they infringe on others or cross the bounds of courteous behavior. I wish there was an answer.

But I love the duck part. Because it is true, there is hope.

Ortizzle said...

Don't you love it when something gratuitous happens that is just simply nice? Because there really is no more explanation for the assassin than there is for the duck.

Lynn said...

Why did the duck cross the road? To get to the other side. It's a good thing that the duck decided to cross in your neighborhood. Had it decided to cross in my, someone probably would have gone around the stopped cars, rushing to something that I sure would have been oh so very important. (note the sarcasm). T

Joan said...

Your story helped brighten my day. It helps to prove that most humans do, in fact, place a great value on life even if what we see on television and in the newspapers is usually the opposite.

jen said...

oh. M has a book about that exact thing (the duck thing)

meno, i've thought about you many times in the last day or two. thinking of Em's recent college visits and then how this must be so, so terribly hard to process.

we are wonderful, meno. we are.

meno said...

princess, i don't know where it started, just that i wish it would stop. Too many guns.

mrs.chili, empathy, and the lack of it. For the shooter, and he for his victims. Keep on raising those empathetic kids.

caro, i know that most people are good. But we sure hear about it when they aren't. I'm sorry about your blog. Gonna try again?

qt, numb is a good word. Animals are not unnecessarily cruel.

sari, it was a great thing to see, right then.

I, kindness to animals. It's very sweet.

chani, it is an aberration. I have to try and remember that.

liv, i am happy to know where my baby is too. But many people's babies are not okay, after the attack. I hurt for them.

toni, yes, the little ducks in the world give mr hope.

ttq, i just don't know why. I just can not imagine.

luckyzmom, it fells that way, we have to remember to value all life.

patches, yes, i see those animals after they have tried to cross the road. :( i am sorry to say that i am not shocked either.

becky, thank you. it was a beautiful thing.

scott, i know. sadly, i know. you are right, we are confounded. It's a good thing that we are confounded too.

holly, inconceivable cruelty, and madness.

maggie, i think anyone with children is wondering what to do. And there are too many guns.

ortizzle, it was an amazing contrast to be listening on the radio to the aftermath, while waiting for one little duck.

lynn, i am so glad that no one was in a hurry to get somewhere more important than one duck.

joan, we just hear about the opposite, while kindness may be happening right where we are.

jen, we are wonderful. We are. I've decided that there is to be no college for Em. Not really, but it's tempting....

Lucia said...

I love this, basically, a little animal messenger waddled across the road and gave humans a chance to behave in a positive way, just for you.

Mona Buonanotte said...

My head couldn't handle VT...all I knew was I wanted to hug my kids forever and ever.

Loved your story, Meno. Isn't it funny how much hidden compassion we humans have?

Mama P said...

Quack quack to you, dear Meno.

Mother of Invention said...

Ah, the simple ironic polarities of the human condition and the universe. Nice for the overall balance, though isn't it. And isn't nice to know there are actualy many humans just like those you witnessed?

Popeye said...

Oh, thanks for that. . .

SUEB0B said...

Most people are good. Most people are nice. Most people work hard and do the best they can.

It's for the messed-up minority that we have to lock our doors, guard the children, and fear.

meno said...

lucia, it was something i really treasured right then. A little message from the universe.

mona, yes, there were hugs here too. We need to try and un-hide our compassion more often.

mamap, quack right back at you my dear.

moi, we humans can behave in excessively polarized ways. It is nice to know that most of us are caring.

popeye, you are welcome. I'll bet of the duck was able to think that much, she would have appreciated it too.

suebob, you are right. But it would be easier if we could tell who the messed-up ones are.

kerewin said...

That is something I really, really needed to hear. Thank you.

urban-urchin said...

Awww, it's like "Make Way for Ducklings" that's so sweet!