I am troubled by the fragility of the human condition today. Between the incident of a friend having his car broken into and laptop stolen to the story I read of a week-old baby being nursed by someone who was not her mother after her mother was not able to feed her, I just feel linked to other humans by a delicate thread of unpredictability and the knowledge that there are bad deeds and good ones happening all the time and there’s no telling which ones we’ll encounter on any given day. Just a heads up: It is a rainy, overcast day and I’m waxing philosophical.
In the past, I’ve spent weeks or months (maybe even a bad year) isolating in my house, mostly as a result of clinical depression and lack of social support, and what I’ve discovered is that you don’t experience all that much social interaction of any kind. I avoided a lot of the bad interactions because I wasn’t interacting at all. But not much good took place either. Being part of the world means taking the bad with the good I guess.
I found myself thinking about the thief who smashed my friend’s car window to steal his laptop: Was he/she a drug addict in need of money? Honestly, that’s the only plausible scenario I can think of. Drug addiction breeds desperation and addicts take actions they both justify and regret in order to feed their habits. I have pity for this mystery thief even as I dislike this person for being a turd of a human being.
My friend reports that a neighbor’s car was also broken into and had a guitar stolen. The thief did not want a guitar and a laptop. The thief wanted money. At some point, the thief made a choice that his/her only option was to break into cars and pawn whatever expensive items could be carried away. Guitars and laptops are easily sellable items. Don’t ask me how I know this. Breaking car windows goes beyond casual thievery and gets into the realm of desperation. Casual thieves might take something from an unlocked vehicle but it takes someone desperate to smash a window. It takes planning, premeditation. You need tools. (Have you ever tried to smash a car window? You can’t do it with your fist.) So at some point, this thief decided a good career choice was smashing car windows and grabbing expensive stuff from them for resale. This person has steeled him/herself against the guilt and shame of resorting to this means of getting money. Or this person is a sociopath. I am choosing to regard this person with pity instead of anger and fear. But I can emotionally afford to do that: It wasn’t my car.
The pendulum of humanity had me swinging both ways this morning. My detached pity for the car thief was quickly replaced by detached empathy for helpless mother with a hungry, crying newborn and no food to give it. Fortunately, she was assisted by another mother who suckled the starving infant. You totally want to read about the woman nursing a stranger’s baby. I don’t usually go in for the pathos-driven stories of babies and mothers, especially on Huffington Post (with no offense to Arianna Huffington, a fascinating individual about whom I will write more another time) but this story was different because it was less about the mom and baby and much more about humans helping out their fellow humans without concern for stupid cultural stigmas that might keep them from reaching out to someone in need. It made me a little teary. Good lord, I’m full of feels today. Ugh. What happened to my snark? I’m snarkless.
In summation, in all sincerity, here’s hoping today is full of contentedly suckling babies and empty of smash and grab thieves.