Most people aren’t mean; they are just unaware. Totally and completely unaware.
I had this epiphany today while I was once again trying to manoeuvre my way through dense (in more ways than one) crowds with crutches, getting frustrated at the fact that so few people were careful not to knock my crutch (it happened at least 7 or 8 times today alone).
One guy barged by me in such a way that he almost knocked me down. I was so annoyed that, quite loudly, I said something to the extent of: “Excuuuuuuuuuuuse me?” (and those of you who know me know with what kind of voice I must have said that!).
The man turned around (there was no way anyone would have not turned around at that). To my utter shock, he was mortified. “I didn’t see your crutch”, “I’m so sorry”, and “Are you OK” sum up the rest of it. Then he helped me not only by holding the door, but he took my bag from me (thank God, it was heavy), and accompanied me all the way down the (non-mechanical) stairs.
I asked him if he had barged on purpose by me earlier. He was emphatic: no, he hadn’t. He just hadn’t seen me. I thanked him profusely, he apologized again, and we were both on our way.
But he made quite the impression on me (no, not THAT kind of impression. Sheesh people!). So I went out for a walk three times that day, at points where I knew there was heavy traffic. And each time someone would barge into me, I’d call them up on it, and every single time, they would have a reaction similar to that of the morning mans’.
It was quite the eye-opening experience for me, and has filled me with hope. I’d rather be in a world of people who are too self-involved than in a world of people who don’t care.
And now, to burn away those self-involvement veils…