While I was out walking around and cleaning roads and sidewalks from hurricane debris, I got a little frustrated with everything because I was the only one outside actually doing something. I was moving giant fallen tree pieces from the roads and sidewalks, clearing storm drains, clearing the track, and generally just making conditions safer.
But I was the only person I saw outside doing anything. While I was clearing the track, I saw three runners trying to run the track, two walkers around the outside, and a couple with a stroller. None of them moved any of the debris – they just went around it.
It reminded me of the pictures I saw of Hurricane Katrina over a decade ago, where you saw photos of people just sitting in lawn chairs with a trashed yard. No one was trying to do anything to clean things up or make things better. They were just waiting around for someone else to deal with it.
And still there were others who continuously demonstrated that the rules clearly don’t apply to them. I watched at least one car go speeding through a housing area and didn’t stop at any of the stop signs. Because, you know, “all direction” stop signs only apply to everyone else and not them. Clearly.
It’s like everyone lives in this stupid “magic” world where “other” people clean up the mess. Where “other” people take responsibility for making the world a better place. Where “other” people vote and try to fix a broken system. Where “someone else” will take care of taking out the trash or doing the chores. Where “other” people get paid to clean up spilled popcorn in the movie theaters instead of people just putting their popcorn containers in the trash on their way out.
We don’t take ownership for the places we inhabit. We don’t participate in being a part of a community.
And it means that what would be a very easy burden to bear when shared by many is instead overloaded on a very small amount of people who keep trying to save everyone and everything all on their own.
It’s breaking those small amounts of people. It’s destroying those who are good and helpful. Why? All because no one wants to get involved in anything. People are so hopeless right now that they feel like nothing they do or say matters, but at the same time, everyone and everything is disposable. Oh, you dropped your really expensive phone and cracked the screen? You should totally just throw the whole thing out and get a new one! Oh, climate change is a problem and certain groupings are working really hard to take away people’s rights? You totally shouldn’t vote because your voice doesn’t matter anyway and you’re just playing their corrupt game; things will never get better anyway. (Side bar – you absolutely SHOULD VOTE and here’s where to register). Oh, that person who loves you more than anything was going through a rough time and made a lot of mistakes and hurt you? You should totally ditch them and never talk to them again, even when things get better and they become a decent person. Because, you know, they hurt you really bad that once so they totally aren’t worthy of a redemption arc and they are an absolute loser; totally not worth your time.
The same thing is happening with me at work. Because I live close to work and because I haven’t lost power, water, or internet during the entire hurricane and tropical storm, I now get to go in and cover someone else’s 26 hour shift tomorrow. This happens to me all the time when these shifts come up. Everyone else has all these excuses why they can’t do it, because of their family or their church obligations, or their physical limitations, or god only knows what else. So every time my section has to provide a person to deal with the 26 hour shift, it winds up being me. Because I don’t have a life or a family so no one feels badly about me having to come in and work extra. No one even blinks about it because they know that the job will get done and they didn’t have to worry about it.
And it just makes me fucking angry and frustrated. Like, if everyone pulled their weight, then the load would be lighter. But that’s not how it is. The overworked have to carry the fat and lazy. And the good people get broken.
I really need to get a job where I actually get to HELP people. I need to move back to my home coast so I can live somewhere my fellow citizens aren’t continuously working to give their fucking GUNS more rights than human people. I need to live in a place where my right to marry or control my body aren’t subjected to massive religious indoctrination restrictions (of a religion that isn’t even MINE!). I need to live in a place where I could maybe go on dates or make new friends without having to worry about work restrictions. I need to live in a place where I can spend more time with my family, who is on the opposite coast as me right now. Maybe I need people who I care about who I have hurt in the past to give our friendship another chance, if for no other reason than to make amazing graphic novels together.
-be a part of a community. Go out and help clean up your actual neighborhood. Whether you’re in an area impacted by a natural disaster or you just see trash on the streets, clean it up. If everyone did just one small thing a day, I’m positive it would all add up.
-be kind to everyone you meet. You have no idea what they’re going through or where they’ve been. Just because they work in fast food, in retail, at a grocery store, or at an entertainment center, their job is no less important than yours. In fact, their job is probably infinitely more important than yours because they actually make the world keep moving forward and society would collapse without them. Being kind costs you nothing.
-do your part to be the change you want to see in the world. The top of that list is voting because your voice absolutely DOES matter. Anyone who says you shouldn’t vote is high on the list of people who are greedy and robbing this country of all the things which used to make us decent human beings. I know it’s hard, but maintain hope. Keep trying. Vote. And absolutely do NOT stand by and allow the rights of others to be taken.
-give people a chance. We are all only human. Sometimes we make horrible mistakes and if we’re decent human beings, we learn from those mistakes. Try to be better every day. Be thankful more often. Express your gratitude and your love for those in your life. Everything can change so drastically and you may not have another chance to show someone how much you care. Being alone sucks. If you love someone, tell them. Always.
-keep working on your dreams. Always. Nothing has to be accomplished at this exact second and sometimes your timing is just off but never give up. One step forward a day is still moving forward. There is no schedule for success or happiness – you just have to keep moving forward.
If by chance Adventure Buddy who took me to the hospital is reading this – it’s been several years now. I really am sorry for everything that happened but I understand that things needed to happen the way they did in order for me to learn how to do better. Drop me a note and say hi; it’d be great to reconnect or even work on a creative project together. You remain the most talented artist I’ve ever seen and I think you would really like making my Explorers trilogy into graphic novels.
Anyway, thanks for reading.