Wednesday, June 22, 2011

XII. On Foot At World's End: What You See Is What You Are

The remainder of the evening was mostly squandered in Manhattan - walking and aimless, buffetted about by shifting moods. I was irritated by the chalk board sign advertising a "Rapturetini" outside a Mid-town bar. I found myself caught in a herd of slow moving tourists several blocks long in Times Square. This time, looking into each face, I felt only contempt, judgment, and the strong desire to be away from those faces.

After dark came a drenching rain shower. I sought shelter under an awning within ear shot of a man begging from a wheel chair.

 How about thinking of someone other than yourself for a change? I'll bet you have a home to go to tonight. C'mon, give a homeless Vet a hand...

He's deranged, I think, and feel easy compassion for him at first, but after listening to him use that same basic guilt trip, slightly individualized, on the next several dozen passer-bys; I come to hate him. It doesn't take much, really. I think the formula for hatred of another human being might be as simple as  exposure + time + no perceived escape.

I'm deranged, I think, and choose the rain over continued exposure to this. Walking is better. People are better - more interesting, more attractive, more likable - when you're just walking by. This is the story I tell myself now, the one that colors the world I live in and all the tiny judgments that I make.

Do we attribute this kind of inconstancy to God? Is this why we think today is Judgment Day? Because we're disappointed, annoyed, envious, small, bitter, petty, hateful - or because God is?

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