Friday, June 6, 2008

The Shame of Indifference

Over the last several days I've been blogging, twittering, buzzing, and plurking. It sounds as if I lead a rather adventurous life. I've been caught up in the virtual world. It just so happens that many of my new friends hang out there, so it is the place to be.

However.

While ensconced in my virtual haven, things have been happening out here that have me perplexed.

It started yesterday.

I needed some watermelon. I grabbed J and we headed out early to our local Kroger. As I started to turn into the aisle to park the SUV behind me sped (in a PARKING LOT) through the aisle, weaving between cars, pulled in front of me and parked at the nearest spot. Had I been going any faster, either I would have hit her or she would have hit me. I was shocked. Not angry. This is a small lot. A local store. Early morning. No crowds. Tons of parking. I didn't get it. Was the two seconds she saved by cutting through the lot worth it? Well. It wouldn't be for long.

I parked and then hopped out of the car and called, "Excuse me . . . Excuse me, Ma'am?" She turned around. She was about 60 or so, clearly angry for having to stop her march into the store. "Did you not see me right in front of you? Was there a reason you cut through the lot to get this spot?" She claimed I didn't use my signal. Then she said something along the lines of "what's the big deal?" I told her that not only was driving through a parking lot that fast dangerous, but I could have hit her, she could have hit me and I have an infant in the car. Did she ever consider that her hasty actions could hurt someone. ALL FOR A SAVINGS OF two seconds? She angrily turned and marched into the store.

A moment after the woman walked away, two elderly ladies approached me and told me they saw what happened and couldn't believe what the woman did and how she behaved. "People just don't care anymore." Her friend nodded in agreement. I smiled and thanked them for being so kind. Once inside the store one of the clerks (I know her fairly well since I visit quite often), came out to help me get J into the cart. "We saw what happened on the monitor and thought for sure she was going to hit you. We were hoping you would take her down. I have no idea what has gotten into people nowadays." As a side note, she then made a comment about how the stock guys in the back were hoping for a cat fight. I said it is a sad day when men are looking to a cat fight between a thirty-something mom and a senior citizen to turn them on. Very sad.

Now, don't get me wrong, I've been an idiot and have made my share of mistakes behind the wheel. The fact that she did what she did was not so much the issue as the fact that she just didn't care. She was completely indifferent to anyone else but herself. That is what frustrated me to no end.

It doesn't stop there.

My story pales in comparison to that of the elderly victim of a hit and run driver left to suffer in the street while no one, this bares repeating, NO ONE, came to help him. The video will have you gritting your teeth and spewing expletives. Amy just commented that one of the witnesses did not stop because it would be too inconvenient. What?!?! Well, %$##@&*!

Does anyone care anymore? Do people care that their words or actions may leave scars that will probably never fully heal? Are we becoming indifferent to even the atrocities that are happening right before our eyes?

I'm not talking about marching on Washington or building homes in a third world country (though that would be great if one were so inclined). I'm talking about just giving a damn. Just caring about others. Caring about how you treat others. I don't know, maybe stooping to help the man who was just run over and is now lying helpless in the street. Maybe just starting there would be nice.

Are we in a hurry? Are we afraid to reach out? Are we too consumed by the craziness of life to pay attention to what goes on around us?

I'm just as guilty as the next person. Of that I have no doubt. I sometimes feel I've lost my passion for humanity. That can't be good.

BUT, I feel in my heart of hearts that I would have rushed to that man and offered whatever help I could while simultaneously calling for help.

With this all said, my rant must have a purpose . . .

Here's my idea. Do you ever see something that just pulls at you and makes you think, "Now that was so cool. Humanity rocks!"? Have you ever done something that makes you think,"I'm not such a bad person after all!"? Whether you save someone from a burning building or merely hold the door open at your local Micky D's for a group of 85 senior citizens (knowing they will probably clear out the Sausage Egg McMuffin supply) or if you see something like this happen, it doesn't matter. Share it. No matter how big or small. I need you to share it. WE all need you to share it.

We need to fight indifference.

I know this corny, mushy, overblown post is not the savior of humanity, but it is my tiny step toward making it, LIFE, this world around us, matter. I have a little guy who will grow up in this world of ours . . . It pains me to think he will grow up under a shroud of indifference. They, those little people who depend on us, deserve so much more.

You know, I was originally going to post about my love affair with mom jeans. But, in light of my own shame, I decided those stretchy, light blue, high-waisted wonders would have to wait.

I am dedicating this weekend to fighting indifference. So, take part!

Well, my Mister Linky died. Several of you e-mailed me and said you had trouble with your links showing up! No worries. I plan on continuing this series and will showcase stories you share either through the comments section or through writing your own post on your blog about how either YOU or someone you have observed is fighting indifference each time I do a "Fight Indifference" post.

This will definitely NOT be a ONE POST initiative!

57 comments:

zoeyjane said...

i read all of that and felt a range of emotions, but i really can't stop being hung up on the fact that you've been plunking.

MommyTime said...

I wrote a post about this last week -- an act of kindness I didn't think should go unnoticed. It's here. This is a great idea. I hope I'll find something new to add to your linky this weekend.

noble pig said...

Ugh. I saw this on TV today and it was just horrifying. And the person who hit him...where did he go?

It's very sad.

However, there was a time in this country when people but mostly doctor's were sued for stopping to help people and maybe these people died...then those doctor's were sued for not saving them. This was until they passed the Good Samaritan Laws. However, I feel I would totally stop for this, it just killed me to see it.

Angela said...

Great post... I think it's a shame whata hurry people are in and the indifference. I will try to tackle this over the next day or so...very worth it!

Amy said...

That story about the hit and run angers me and makes me sad. How can people not help? I just don't get it. I listened to a guy call in on talk radio and say that he wouldn't have helped either. He said it would have been too inconvenient. I wanted to jump through the phone. Thanks for this post!

Kami said...

Wow, what has the world come to? It's crazy and you are right, we need to fight indifference and start giving a rat's you know what.

:-)

Lindsey said...

So sorry you had a tough day! I don't want to blog about my "pay it forward" moment b/c people from my area read my blog.

I gave my bday money to our janitor that is having a really hard time....her car died, she is raising 2 kids and 2 grandkids (and doing a damn good job), at church every Sunday, a huge tree just demolished her house (thousands of dollars of damage and no insurance), and she just had knee surgery last week. She reminds me of Job.

I think it is important for our kids to see these acts of kindness. Especially starting at Mary Margaret's age. VITALLY important!

Laski said...

Lindsay--you are just too awesome . . . seriously. Thanks for sharing!!!

OHmommy said...

It is so sad. People do not care anymore. It is all over the news too. It just sucks. ;)

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I've had the opposite experience lately. We've had some very untimely deaths in our community and a heinous murder; the outpouring of help, money and support has been amazing.

It is interesting that a little more is coming out now about that hit and run. Sometimes the press gets on things so quickly they don't have all the facts.

Wendi said...

I just wrote an open letter to a man in the grocery store. I let him in front of me, and no words of thanks, no nod, nothing.
You can read about it here:

http://becausewendisaidso.blogspot.com/2008/06/another-open-letter.html

I was so stunned I did not say a word. I just sent him a note via the www.
The hit-and-run story is horrible.
I can not imagine.
Thanks for trying to make a difference. Every little bit helps.
I will wait with bated breath for your post on your love affair with mom jeans.

Kathryn said...

I am so glad that you confronted that woman! That is far braver than I. I would have just stewed on it for a week instead. Good for you!

I love this idea. So fabulous! I'll try and think of something I can add to your linky.
A quick one:
I took the boys to the park the other day and a little girl (about 3) was running around and took a digger right on her little face. Joey (my 5 yr old) ran over right away and asked her if she was okay and then helped her stand up, and put his arm around her and gave her a squeeze. It was one of the cutest/sweetest freaking things I've ever seen. My heart just melted.

Sandy C. said...

Such a great post. You said this so well. We do need to aspire to be better, to do good. The elderly victim story has me floored and so sad. A few years ago, a man was hit on the freeway while riding a motorcycle a few cars infront of us. Paramedics were not at the scene yet, and people just stood around in shock as the man lay on the street. Hubby and I immediately pulled over. He called 911, and I ran over to assess him as best I could as an RN.

I will never understand how people can just walk away.

painted maypole said...

the other day at Walmart I had left my wallet in the car, and didn;t realize it until my items were rung up. It was only a few items $12 or so, and I was going to have the items taken off and run out to my car. But a man at the next lane paid for them. And wouldn't give me his address so that I could send him a check.

so there's someone who went beyond indifference in a huge way, for me.

Cecily R said...

Oh I love Maypole's story!!! It just goes to show its the little things that count.

Your idea is a great one. I'd love to participate and come up with a good post for it. Let me know if you plan to do it on a regular basis.

P.S. I would have sent you a person Photo Story Friday invite but I don't have your e-mail address. Consider yourself invited. We'd love to have you participate!

Kristen said...

YEA!! GO Laskigal! I am so glad that you confronted the crazy lady too. But, hopefully, she will get what is coming to her.

Some kindness that was shown to me the other day: I was at the grocery store with both kids in tow, about $200 in groceries, and the gigantic car cart. After getting all the groceries in, the kids buckled in, and my purse on the front seat, I went back to put the cart back. (I do not believe in just leaving them near me) As I was starting to head to the return area, a women probably in her 50's came up to me and returned our cart for us. I was SO thankful! It was very kind of her to notice that I needed an extra hand.

I took the whole ride home to explain to the kids how nice it is to do things for others when they don't expect it. How great it is to be nice to those around us. Kindness can never be over-rated.

Rachel H. said...

So, maybe I missed something--but what do we add to our post? I saw the little box, but it looked like something to add someone to your sidebar???? And how do you copy it over?

Am I too dumb? Is this where we write a story and put it on our blog and then go back to yours and type our blog page in so you can see what we wrote?

Just checking...cause I WOULD LOVE to participate! What great thoughts--I know I could be better about really caring about those around me. Even just with a hello.

Karen said...

I love this post - we need more people who care! My mission in life is teaching my kids to care about others. It frustrates me to no end that they fight and bicker, pick and tease with each other. But every now and then a teacher will approach me about how wonderful my child shares/helped/gave sympathy and I know it's sinking in. I also try to teach by example.

Pam said...

Amen! you said it! I am often horrified by the news and stories around today. I worry about my kids growing up in this world. This world of selfishness and hatred. This world of - as you said- indifference. Good for you! I will try to get something together to add to your linky!

DysFUNctional Mom said...

What a WONDERFUL post! I can't wait to participate.
That hit & run story makes me ill.

suchsimplepleasures said...

it is amazing...how little that people seem to care about anything but themselves!! pathetic!
i may have to participate...i'll be back!
xoxo

chicklet said...

That's a very cool idea, I'm gonna have to pay attention this weekend!

Kellan said...

This was a great post!! I'm glad you said something to that lady because it's important to address these sorts of things so possibly they won't happen again - some of us just are too afraid to confront other people or jump in and help. That video of that poor man in the hit-and-run broke my heart. I too believe I would have RUN to his aide - it was awful.

Hope you are having a good weekend - Kellan

Tranny Head said...

I love this post! I live in a metropolis where the attitude is 100% "eff these mothereffers" all the time. About EVERYTHING. It puts an element of stress in things that should be easy - like parking a car or getting in a check-out line. And I think the underlying current of stress just feeds the bad attitude. Though I admit, I have one seriously SERIOUSLY bad attitude - and the longer I stay here in Metropolis the worse it gets!

HRH said...

I think a lot of this indifference has always been there but it hasn't been OK to have an attitude about it and blatantly make it known until recently. People just tolerate more crazy stuff from these people...maybe out of fear.
I am so glad you are surrounded by people who CARE!

manager mom said...

I just don't understand why people a) don't feel they need to take responsibility for their own actions and b) feel that it is their right to be aggressively nasty.

I'm with you. Start the thoughtfullness revolution!

And on the plurk thing. I am stressed enough by the concept of trying to twitter...I don't think I could plurk yet... unless I get fired...

Aunt Becky said...

I will join the fight. I've seen what you're talking about, and I will rage along side you. Providing I can do it from the couch.

Eve Grey said...

I pulled into an almost empty mall parking lot this morning, got my 3 out of the truck & headed to the doors to find out it didn't open for an hour and a half. Walked back & there was a minivan pulled right up beside me so close that only my kids could get in or she could get out. The question is why???? There was a huge parking lot to choose from. I found it sooo annoying. So i waited for her & her little one to get out & then had to open the doors so mimiminally for my little ones to squeeze in. I don't know, the stupidity of it annoyed me. I am always telling my kids "Be mindful": as in THINK about what makes sense. Sheesh.

Lori said...

It is sad the world we are living in - people have become more self-absorbed and just plain selfish! I cannot imagine how anyone could live with themselves after driving by and not helping someone that is suffering!! It would eat at me - of course, I stop for dogs and have even moved a turtle out of the road! ha!

I will have to really think about an inspirational story and link up if I can think of one. Isn't it sad that one doesn't just instantly pop into my head? What does that say?

A Buns Life said...

I saw that story on the Today Show on Friday and was pondering writing something about it.....I was just horrified. When you hear that it was only just over a minute that doesn't sound so bad, but watching for that long and seeing all those cars and people just go by that poor man.....

I never would have had the guts to say anything to the lady.....sure I would have complained about her for days to my hubby and friends, but I would have been to nervous to actually say anything to her. So many people are so wrapped up in their own world and could care less about how their actions impact others, it just scares me. My husband and I recently witnessed some serious road rage, where at stop light a guy got out of his car and went over to another guy's car and started punching him (his window was down). We called the police and gave all the info, but it made me nervous doing so. I was "getting involved" in something that could come back to haunt me or my children. In the end, we had to do the right thing. I think people are scared to get involved because they are worried of getting hurt themselves or even sued! which is horrible, but it does happen. I just try to remember if I needed help, or anyone that I loved needed help, wouldn't I want someone to stop and be there?

David said...

I have posted so many stories about fighting indiffference my fingers ache. There is a trend I believe that will swing us back to a time when we stopped and said hello, opened doors, thanked a cook for a nice meal, and slowed down. The key for me is slowing down. I ran life at 100 mph until one day I woke up and realized I was in a hospital, and spent the previous 12 days in a coma on life support.
Perspective: now I stop, thank, love, live, speak, go slow and take if an SUV races to grab a spot in the grocery lot, I feel sad for them. It is important to me that my 14 year old son inherit a better place than I did. I believe we can change, and I believe it is easy to do.
I love this post because what your are doing is what I set out to do a few months ago: Make the world better.
I applaud you and will direct the world to your blog.
Thanks

WherestheBox said...

I absolutely hate driving in parking lots! It is so sad to see people treating other people this way. Unbelievable!

Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. I'm glad to find your blog.

Danielle said...

Great post. I agree qith you 100%. Everyone, including myself, is so caught up with our busy lives we have forgotten to look aorund and see what's front of our eye's. The hit and run is actually a pretty common psychological phenomenon - diffision of responsibility. I will never foregt learning about it in high school.

Nap Warden said...

I've been thinking the same thing. We don't drive so much in The Big City, but somedays, it feel like people are aiming at us! No one looks out for little folks, and they don't seem to care. When I point out that they are driving too fast, I get a you're nuts look. I couldn't believe the hit and run video when I saw it on the news...so sad:(

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

Wonderful post, I can't wait to read about how people are caring for each other.

CC said...

It's all so sad. I think it's always been like that (although we want to imagine the "good old days"). People just don't want to help. :(

Mommy Mechanics said...

I had a similar experience the other day when i was almost ran off the road by a man in a huge truck, because I turned my blinker on and slowed down to safely turn on my street and he went around me so fast cutting me off right as I was about to turn, and I had my two babies in the car. I just get so angry that people are in such a hurry and they're willing to put others at risk. More people really do need to just care. Great post!

The Sports Mama said...

This was an amazing reality check of a post! Thank you.

And thanks for stopping by my place! Anytime you want to take up comment space... feel free! :) I love that!

Bunchy said...

This is absolutely one of my hugest pet peeves...people that just quite frankly don't care about other people, no matter what. So well-written and so so true! xoxo

krissy said...

For criminey out loud.....do you think that any of those pedestrians could have at least stopped traffic instead of acting like morons? That video should make each one of those pedestrians feel the shame. I am pissed.

As a CPR/First Aide instructor I always tell my students that it is their responsibility to help. If that means calling 911, controlling bleeding, anything.....it is our responsibility. Each and every human being.

And that old bat would have had a lip lashing if I would have witnessed her driving.

Misty said...

Beautiful idea.

Although. My heart is breaking for this little Jeremy, whom I assume, has now reached our Father In Heaven. I clicked on the "Pray For" button, and read his story. I can't even imagine. My heart aches so.....

Hey it's Amy Shipp said...

What a great post! I completely agree with you that someone should do something to help fight indifference! It's very sad... I will have to see if I can personally make a difference this week! I'll post about it after! Thank you!!! :D Have a great week!

Steph said...

The hit and run story is such a sad one, I don't understand why folks can't help others. I love doing good deeds and I love it even more now that my kids understand these deeds and can learn from them. Great post!!!

Motherhood for Dummies said...

these kinds of stories make me so sad. TO think how deattached people are from each other. I can't believe how much some people don't care. Not all people, but some people.

SWC said...

Sooo sorry I have not been by lately. This is the best post. I have been lamenting exactly all of this lately. The world is in apathy. It's so sad. I have made it my personal crusade to be friendly to people and make them make eye contact and talk to me. The story of the man left in the road really struck me as well. So very sad. I swear you and I are always on the same wave. Anyway, Bunchy tells me you've been wanting to get into my blog. I would love to invite you but I don't have your email address to add you. Can you send it to her somehow?

CableGirl said...

I'd like to say I'm shocked and appalled by the behavior of the women in the parking lot... but I'm not shocked, just appalled. You are so right. People are just so wrapped up in themselves that they just don't give a damn about others.

I love your idea for a themed week of posts. I'll be back, I promise.

Marmarbug said...

I agree with a lot of people. Things are SO sad nowadays. People are so self absorbed. I try not to be and try to realize that no matter how bad things get someone out there is alwyas worse off then me. I try to be kind, saying please and thank you. Things we were taught at such a young age. But people seem to not have basic etiquette anymore.

Amy said...

Okay I guess I need to get in on this plurking thing. Just trying to finish a few projects around the house first.
Sorry about your crazy driver incident, that is nuts. It is amazing how many people really don't seem to care these days.
So not too long ago I let a girl know her skirt was stuck in her thong in the ladies' room, that was kinda nice of me, no?

Lisa said...

You know, that lady was a thoughtless individual, however the clerk in the store & the other ladies in the lot DID care.

When we were leaving for vacation I had a bad experience in the Atlanta airport. BUT the redeeming part of the experience is the sweet man who put his travel needs aside to help me, a ragged mother dealing with two kiddos, a broken elevator, and no time to get to her flight, ahead of his. He was a good man. And I agree that we all need to take a few extra minutes to be good to people everywhere.

Can't wait to hear about the mom jeans.....

LunaNik said...

What a lovely idea for a carnival!! Maybe you should set a date and let a bunch of us pimp it out for you. I'd definately be into doing a post about humanity or lack thereof. GREAT IDEA!!!

gina said...

I JUST posted a comment on a post about this very incident (the H&R) here-
http://newenglandmamas.typepad.com/new_england_mamas/2008/06/were-just-human.html
basically, the author was DEFENDING the people who witnessed this accident. WHAT?!??? I'm joining your cause!!

Elaine A. said...

Hubs and I went to the mall yesterday which is just hellacious on the weekends anymore. The general rudeness of people (not holding doors, "stealing" parking spots, etc.) just astounds me. We are striving on a daily basis to teach our boys manners and just good ole human decency. Thank you for posting about this and I look forward to reading more.

Jennifer said...

you are so right. it is horrible to think that our children will be growing up in this world and if it is this bad now, what will it end up being in a few years? it is scary to think how horrible people are. i couldn't imagine not helping someone, anyone, that had been hit by a car... or in any situation that they would need help.
my parents are both very helpful, good samaritans... so i think i've always has them as teachers around me to help me to be a better person, i wouldn't even think twice of helping anyone.
that being said... i'm sure i have not-knowingly or maybe knowingly passed by someone in need or turned the other way... it is easy to turn a blind eye to some situations and just walk aways rather than to get involved and give part of yourself to help another.
i've also been the jerk behind the wheel in a hurry, not in a parking lot though, but other times... so i think another part of all this is noticing and admitting our own faults and trying to make ourselves better people and in turn helping others and the world.

i think feeling like you don't have time to help someone b/c you are too consumed with all that is going on in your life and maybe over burdened yourself is very normal, but maybe if we all learn to help one another and let someone in to help us out too we would feel a lot less of those burdens.
i'm going to try to my best at some random acts of kindness... thanks for this great post. :)

xoxoxoxo's

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

Wow! I'm glad you didn't get hit.

Your right. To many of us humans have become indifferent to the fate of others.

MamaGeek said...

Man, between the world news and those stories it's sad, really really sad.

Your idea is brilliant!

Colleen said...

that hit and run was disgusting...couldn't believe not a single person even stopped. last I heard the poor man was paralized from the neck down.

when I was a kid (4th or 5th grade), I was walking to my friend's house and saw a little girl of about 3 hitting her dog hard with a big stick (thankfully the dog did not retaliate...poor thing). None of the kids near her or her mother said anything to her, so I hollered at her to cut it out. She sassed back, "it's my dog!" and I told her I didn't care and that she'd BETTER cut it out and I took her stick. She did. Who knows for how long, though...

Pam said...

I suck and never got anything up about this. But I do think about it all the time now. I think about it and what I can do to make things better. Sadly.....I should have let someone go before me at the doctor's office, but I didn't. I thought about it and I wanted to say something about letting them go first (it was an older woman and she was very confused and her grand daughter was there taking care of her). But I needed to get home to my two kiddies. I hated that I didn't do it. But I guess at least I thought about it. Maybe next time I will do better!

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