Sunday, February 05, 2017

Sunday afternoon things

Just some random thoughts.

I said on Twitter this morning I was glad it was Sunday and I was going to church because I had seen a few news stories (and heard news from people I know - someone getting their car "keyed," presumably because of a particular bumper sticker they had) that made me frustrated with humanity.

Well, one big piece of good news: my friend Margaret was back. This is the person who was taken to the hospital in January 2016 (!) with serious abdominal issues, had a couple rounds of bad infections, on a couple occasions was not expected to make it. But she was back, came to Sunday school and church. She looks good. Too thin, but then she's always been too thin.

Also, I got to thinking about a story making the rounds. I'm hoping it's true though it has some of the hallmarks of the glurgy "feel good" stories out there. You've likely heard it: people riding the subway notice someone has written anti-Semitic graffiti in Sharpie on the plexiglas boards over the advertisements and stuff. Someone expresses dismay, another person says, "Alcohol takes off Sharpie, let me see if I have hand sanitizer" and a bunch of people on the train went around with bottles of Purell and tissues and cleaned off the graffiti.

And there are two ways of looking at it, I suppose: on the one hand, it's kind of awful and defeating that (apparently*) people are feeling that it's okay and even good to express those kinds of sentiments (even anonymously, which, if you think about it, is pretty cowardly and the relative anonymity of places like the internet is why so many people feel empowered to say stuff to other people that they'd never feel brave enough to do in person)

(*Because who knows? Maybe this has been going on for years and it's just now been deemed newsworthy. I have heard that for the past few years it's been on the rise in Europe again. Because apparently humans are not very good at learning from their past)

And yeah. It does seem people are getting worse, or maybe, they're feeling more free to express the more cesspool sides of who they are.

But then there's the other way of looking at it: that there's this little cadre of people who, instead of clucking their tongues and going "Someone should do something," decide that THEY are "someones" and so they do - and they remove the graffiti so other people don't have to look at it.

I know I would never be the person writing the graffiti and I might not be brave enough to stop someone if I saw them doing it, especially if it was a big, dangerous-looking person (though I suspect graffitists like that do their best not to be seen). But I also don't have to be the person clucking their tongue and saying 'someone should do something' and I don't have to join a March Against Ugly Graffiti (those kinds of things just aren't me). But I could be the person with the bottle of hand sanitizer and the tissue cleaning it up, quietly, trying not to draw attention to myself, but trying to make the world a little nicer (or at least less-awful) for the people around me. THAT is me, much more than marching and chanting would be, or trying to grab a Sharpie out of the hand of some shaved-head guy with "88" tattoos.

I am not brave in the way it takes being brave to march or to directly confront hateful people. But I can do what I can to try to take away the evidence of their hate.

I dunno. I get frustrated because what I can do - because of my reticent nature, because I'm not that physically strong, because I have a full-time job and all its attendant responsibilities - is so small, but at least I can do small things. (And as someone else tweeted out: at least I am not making things worse)

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