Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Conundrum

With little effort I can summon compassion for tens, even hundreds of thousands of people I do not know and will likely never meet, who live in far-off countries I've never been to. Even when they practice religions whose tenets confound me. Even when they hate my country and, by extension, myself. Even when they actively seek to destroy me.

Yet when a neighbor lady in ridiculous platform shoes topples over in the elevator and causes a needless commotion from which I cannot extricate myself for twenty minutes which means I miss my first train which means I miss my second train which means I arrive at work late instead of early as I'd intended which means my entire morning is crap with a side of chaos, I think about my neighbor and instead of feeling compassion I imagine bludgeoning her with one of those damned shoes.

Conundrum

I haven't figured out the sound of one hand clapping yet, either.

40 comments:

Cynthia said...

Remember, you are practicing and not ever done.

If the shoes were super-duper cute, I could probably have some compassion. However, if they were out of date and/or ugly, well what can she expect....

Sherry W said...

*sigh* It's very hard to have compassion for the stupid sometime.

rb said...

You know, it's pretty easy to fall off comfortable-looking shoes too. Which is why I only wear uncomfortable looking shoes now.

LornaJay said...

Compassion seems to be easier at a distance, doesn't it? I find it harder to be compassionate when it directly affects my comfort or available cash levels....

Leslie said...

One practices compassion for a reason - none of us ever gets it truly 100% down-pat. If only, huh?

Rabbitch said...

Never mind the one hand clapping ... what is the sound of one shoe, bludgeoning?

Ted said...

So are footwear-created accidents a legitimate justification for late arrival at your place of employment?

Nancy J said...

Answer: Silence

Jon said...

Oh, it's just so much easier to hate someone you can see than someone you can't....That is pretty funny, however. I hope you laughed at her. I would have.

LaurieM said...

Compassion for the distant other is an intellectual excercise where compasion for the human before you requires a practical application of an aquired skill.

Just keep practicing.

Michelle said...

Ommmmm...

Oh, and I'm totally stealing the phrase "crap with a side of chaos".

Ommmmmm...

Lynn in Tucson said...

Oh, I needed this today.

Practice, practice, practice.

Jo said...

I'd want to beat her with her own shoe, too.

I just found your blog a few days ago — love it (especially Dolores!) Your Chicago-with-palm-trees idea? Heaven.

Joe said...

Wow...amazing insight so early into your studies grasshopper.

I can totally relate to this. A corollary for me is why am I only a complete, stark-raving lunatic when I'm driving?

Would this woman have cringed when you tried on your almost completed sock in a public place?

Susie said...

Evidence points to the possibility that you were given my portion of wit, artistic ability, philosophical tendencies and incredible sense of style, along with your own. I'm feeling bereft. Consider which one you'd be willing to surrender.

Nice sock. What a talent.

Sean said...

I'll say what others might only be thinking...we've done the world a diservice by helping the stupid. Darwin was right. Natural Selection should remove these genes from the gene pool! LOL. Compassionate eh?

Anonymous said...

Knit her a pair of socks and when giving them to her inform her that she is required, at all times, to wear shoes appropriate for the aforementioned socks.

Lee Ann said...

I'm with you, sugar. I haven't figured out that damned sound either, mostly because if I sit for longer than five minutes I feel like breaking a dish.

I do, however, know the sound of one day crapping. Intimately.

Spin something. Works for me. At least then you can knit with the products of your Little Island of Calm, and there's something really satisfying about stabbing things with long pointy sticks.

FiberQat said...

"A platform should be for catching trains, not to be worn for catching trains."

You can be as enlightened as you want, but if your boss isn't, you're screwed.

Back to our regularly scheduled brouhaha.

Madame Purl said...

reminding me to take the stairs - not just good exercise less likely to meet someone in platform shoes.

Knitting Painter Woman said...

I thought only cross dressers were wearing platforms this season.

All the Way With Knitting said...

Oh I saw many a fall from David Bowie like shoes in their day ...it can't be easy to lever yourself up ..those,b.t.w, were men .

Lavender said...

Platform shoes were ugly in the 70's and still ugly now.

I think you deserve at least a couple of Brownie points for not laughing.

Sister Sue said...

Question: why was it you could not extricate yourself from the situation for twenty minutes? Had you been crushed by said woman who fell off of her shoes? Or were you providing some sort of assistance? Tninking about beating the crap out of someone with her shoe, while not exactly ideal, is far better than actually beating the woman. Seems to me you probably DID the compassionate thing by holding your tongue and maybe even helping out in some way when it mattered.

Hope today is better.

Gail said...

Hey, I get bitter when people kill themselves by jumping in front of trains, screwing up my morning commute by hours. (Or die because they ignore crossing gates.) People, if you are going to commit suicide, please, forthe love of god, don't do it during rush hour. Some of us want to get to work before 11.

(I used to try and be sympathetic and all that, but after like the 5th time, I'm just annoyed.)

David said...

I've mentally murdered families of four with young children because they couldn't figure out the subway turnstiles or how to get on the bus in an orderly fashion. Mentally I'm the world's deadliest serial killer.

Donna said...

I bought a pair in Paris in 1973 (h/s trip) and they were the first things my parents noticed when I came off the plane - even before welcoming me! Beloved shoes, blue and white with cork platforms. Turned ankles unite! Thanks for the memory, Franklin! "yqpav" - a virus yaks get I think...

rampant bicycle said...

Compassion for the Other as a distant abstract is much, much easier than compassion for the Other with the offensive odor or the loud cellphone conversation. :)

But as other commenters have said, that's why they call it "practice". :) Hang in there.

Sara in WI said...

My massage therapist just yesterday taught me some helpful strategies for coping with the annoying or stupid or annoyingly stupid crap that happens. Always protect your core....don't face the bad, turn sideways, hold your hands open and over your belly and any sound using the Ohhh, even if whispered helps.

Now GET to WORK!

Tracy said...

It's all the body speech and mind of Tara. Even when it's ridiculous. Not liking it is also the body speech and mind of Tara.

Anonymous said...

You can't fix stoopid. I'm also going to steal your line 'crap with a side of chaos'. BTW, did you help the poor lady up?

Anonymous said...

One hand clapping...Sweetie, it's the sound of silence. Or my knitting.

blueprairie said...

you are so much cuter than you draw yourself.

Liz said...

Spice Girls shoes - ugly and dangerous.

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