Thursday, January 13, 2011

Just a few of the people that irked me yesterday

Yesterday was one of those days where I wonder if humanity is really as necessary as I've been led to believe.

I was irked by:

1) The girls standing next to me while waiting for the shuttle who had a conversation that went like this:

"Oh the snow!"

"I know!" - Huge guffaws of laughter

"So where are you from?"

"Arizona, but Nairobi originally."

"Oh WOW. Do you think you'll ever go back there?"

"Well, I visit every year, except probably not this year." - Huge guffaws of laughter - but why?

"Oh, well the snow must be new to you."

"Well I went to college in upstate New York, so I've seen snow!" - laughter, of the huge sort.

"NO WAY! I went to college in Vermont!"

"Are you SERIOUS?!"

"Yeah! I grew up in Vermont, all my brothers and sisters grew up there too!"

"Are you FOR REAL?! WOW!"

"Yeah, but my sister-in-law is from Florida and when she came here she'd never seen the snow before and when she came she was all, 'It's so cold!'" - here the Nairobi girl actually half collapses with laughter.

It went on from there, but you get the point. A lot of amazement and laughter that seemed uncalled for. On the shuttle I contemplated what it must be like to live life in such an expansive way. I concluded that she was covering some severe emotional pain with all that interest and laughter.

2) The shuttle. The shuttle irritated me mightily. It seems like every time I clamber on to head back to my office the shuttle driver decides to take his 20 minute break. So that happened. I was sitting on the shuttle to nowhere, like a piece of installation art. Every so often a new person would walk up to the shuttle, pull the doors open, and climb on board. Then one person walked up to the shuttle doors and stood there, clearly perplexed by the situation. She looked around for the driver and then just sort of stood there. While the poor girl is standing outside, the people sitting inside are heckling her - "does she expect someone to open the doors for her!" (is that unreasonable?), "is she just going to stand there?" "What an idiot!"

It seemed like a darker side of humanity. Mostly because I could totally see myself in that situation. Did you all know that that was the appropriate thing to do in that situation? Because, actually, when I first tried to board this same shuttle bus, while the driver was actually behind the wheel, he honked me imperiously away from the door because he had not yet pulled up to the exact shuttle-stopping spot. For "safety" reasons he explained when he eventually deigned to let me board. But it is safe for us to pry open the doors to an unattended but running shuttle bus?

3) But don't think this woman is the victim here. When someone up front finally opened the door for her, she sat next to me. As we are driving, I want to let this poor, abused, woman know that some of us are friendly people, so I decided I will chat with her. "At least the roads look like they are clearing up in time for rush hour," I said. While this is neither fascinating nor profound, it's relatively innocuous, right? She ignores me COMPLETELY. Do you know what it's like when you have sent a statement out into the world and it just hangs there? It's pretty uncomfortable.

Honestly. People.

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