Them apples

Consider human existence. Suffering, violence, hate, all that. And then consider the gifts we enjoy of peace, safety, healthcare, education, and still while sitting in a modern car, its climate control, surround sound, airbags, satellite navigation, voice control, 18-direction power seat control… and becoming unhinged because the mom in front of you in the Drive-Thru doesn’t move fast enough. Why are we so dissatisfied? Why are we so angry? I get at the anger.
20 years ago I just returned to the American lap of luxury after working in a broken down post-war former Soviet Republic. Everything was the same but it all looked different because I no longer took everything for granted. The produce section in the supermarket left me dazed, wondering why we needed so many different kinds of apples… and why people in line at the check out were still griping. On cell phones, to each other, to me.

I bought a motorcycle just for the solace of isolation. Stopped at a red light, a distracted woman gently rolled into me from behind, no damage, just a little bump. She was horrified and afraid. She only tapped my rear tire, it didn’t knock me over and there was no damage, but in my leather jacket and black helmet I probably looked a little scary. She was a frightened mess. We pulled into the parking lot beside the intersection and she was shaking when she got out of her car, apologizing effusively. I was stopped at a red light and she hit me from behind, technically. And here I was calming her down, reassuring her I was okay. She was shaking badly and I was afraid she was going to pass out. I took her by the arm inside the diner, sat her down at the counter, and bought us both coffee. Turned out her son had recently been killed in the service.

That was 20 years ago and I think about that all the time, how that 50 something year old woman was already distraught and preoccupied. In LA drivers like her get honked at and get a lot of fingers.

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