Saturday, July 23, 2011

Blasé to the end

I had a moment while grocery shopping this morning that has haunted me the entire day. Searching for hummus, I happed upon the seafood section instead and was suddenly eye to eye with a lobster on death row. A mere few feet away sat gelatinous slabs of fish flesh, quivering underneath the air conditioner. My lobster pal appeared to be eyeing the fish as well. After briefly entertaining a plan for his escape route, I started wondering if he knew his fate would be similar, that the water that surrounding him would be the last? (last non-boiling water, that is.)

How is it that we're constantly surrounded by death, packaged nicely in delis or prepared "artfully" in restaurants, yet we can't come to grips with our own mortality and constantly make light of death?

It seems that New Yorkers are more acclimated with the concept of a sudden death. Since there are so many people per capita, you're bound to hear about local deaths more often, or even glimpse it. But acclimatation breeds apathy. I've heard many people complain about train delays due to "assholes" who jumped in. Of course, no one likes waiting, and it's true that people make idiotic decisions, but I find this troubling. The attitude "how does it affect me?" that we're all guilty of seems to permeate from every city block, but it's precisely the opposite. "How can I affect it?" It being whatever it is that was wrong in the first place, if we ever want to see true change.

Even today, upon hearing of Amy Winehouse's death, most reactions were of the "told you so" realm - "bitch should've gone to Rehab!" Beyond that being a terrible (and terribly easy) joke to make, it shows a lack of caring for the most powerful thing in the world: life. Not to mention a loss of beauty and a troubled, old soul, but that's beyond the point.

I remember when I was a child, and saw someone get hurt. My initial reaction was laughter because I didn't know what else to do. Do we ever really learn? Is this attitude just an adult version of this same uncomfortable feeling? A way of covering up (almost) everyone's fear of death, and more importantly, fear of the unknown? (even the people of Bon Temps seem to respect the dead better than we do). Are we so mortified by our own mortality that we adopt attitudes of nonchalance, unless faced with a death of someone close? There are more questions regarding death than can ever be answered, but to me it's clear the answer is not indifference.

Lesson #43: don't allow the city, or anyone/place, to strip you of your compassion. There's a lot of bad shit in the world, but infinitely more good.

1 comment:

  1. "You're lifetime is but a parenthesis in eternity. You came from nothing, you're here, and you're going back to nothing. It's what you do in the middle that counts."