I'm not just realizing this. I've been aware as long as anybody else has. I just can't stomach it anymore.
It makes me sick. Twice this week I've been literally nauseous at the thought.
I'm sure part of it is having been brought up to respect everyone, whether they agree with me or not, to accept everyone, to give everyone second chances, to try to understand, to try to relate, to ask questions.
I witnessed a situation yesterday that took what little faith I had left after this year away from the bubble Northampton and stomped on it.
A yuppie couple stands in front of me in line at the CVS in Chinatown. They are reasonably far away from the counter and having a conversation. There are two registers, both of which have customers at them.
A woman of Asian descent walks upto a woman at one of the registers, speaks to her in another language as though she is a friend, and then is helped by the clerk.
The man in front of me turns to his wife and says, " What was that? Did she not see the line?" then turns to me and with a pompous laugh asks me the same. I shrug and give him a "I don't know" smile, because I really don't think it's a big deal.
They move up to the other register and while being helped, he taps the woman on the arm and demands, "Did you not see the line? Is that what happened back there? Did you just not see it? Huh?"
She clearly speaks very little English and responds "Sorry...sorry..." with a few embarrassed laughs thrown in.
He continues to badger her, and she continues to respond with her 'sorries' the best she can.
Then he said, "Well- Yeah, thanks," turned to his wife and said under his breath "...as if I could understand anything you said anyway."
His wife at this point nudged him to let it go, and he again turned to me for a response, but I couldn't do anything but stare at him.
While his wife finished paying, and as the woman was leaving he approached her again. All I caught of this was the last thing he said, in an extremely condescending tone, "Well, thank you for saying that." As though he were reprimanding a child who had misbehaved.
Then they left.
I could not believe it. I felt sick. My eyes were filling up with tears by the time I got to the Common one block away. I couldn't stop myself. I was embarrased, enraged, frustrated, horrified, ashamed, heartbroken. I called my mom and by the time I was through the story I had tears running down my face. I don't know that I've ever been so affected by something that did not directly concern me.
I was crying both because of the reasons I listed above, and because I know that there's nothing I can do about it. I could have said something. Part of me regrets not saying "It's not too big of a deal" or "I doubt she meant anything by it." Small comments that attempt to avoid a larger conflict, or make him reconsider his actions. But that's wishful thinking. My comments would not have done anything. They would have been futile. He would not have even heard me. There's nothing I can do.
I was also crying because I know that this is a microscopic instance of what is happening in the world. I originally thought to myself "that guy doesn't even matter." But that's not true- it all matters. There are the people so bigoted and prejudiced and full of hatred that they want to hang people. Then there are people who have small prejudicesthat feel justified to treat others as though they are inferior. And nobody can to anything to make everyone see. Not even a martyr- and what the hell else more can a person do?
It's painful to face reality. I knew I was living in a bubble. I knew that the world is a brutal place. I know that Boston is a segregated city. I know it's the tip of the iceberg. I know I've never seen anything truly horrible.
Is it that I need to toughen up? I could. But I still wouldn't be able to accept this sort of thing.
A man killed 32 people yesterday at Virginia Tech.
People don't hold the door for eachother anymore.
Everything beyond and between is hard for me to swallow.
Why don't people care anymore?
A year ago I had an immense amount of faith in people. I have nearly none left, and it kills me.
This has been a week of headaches, fevers, shootings, assholes, and rain.