My name's Dave. I'm working on it.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

People Just Ain't No Good

I rode to work tonight and felt weary and sad and beaten. I’d spoken to a friend on the phone for half an hour or so before heading out, and she told me of a bunch of my co-workers’ going out drinking and the subsequent drama that ensued. As she talked, it became almost comically horrific, and I felt thankful, for once, that I’d been stuck at work that night and spared the sight of it all. But when we had hung up, all the images she conjured played through my mind again and again and I just got sadder and sadder. All the energy flowed out of me as I rode over the murky Willamette River, my tires banging over the bumpy walkway of the Steel Bridge.
Why do people take such shitty care of themselves? Of each other? It hurt me to think about it. I think of my friends as a sort of extended family; mostly my close friends, but even the people I work with to some degree. And while I may not like some of them very much, I would certainly look after them if they were down or ill, and I want all of them to live well and be (relatively) happy. But they don’t fucking take care of themselves. Between pounding shots and forming stupid little cliques and being the centers of their own little universes… how can they live that way? I became angrier and angrier the more I thought about it. My Cancer instincts get really upset about things like this. I know most of the world is fucked, but these are people I judge to be relatively intelligent and sensible. So how could they, in what was intended to be a night of bonding, be so isolated from one another, so heartless? It made me want to shut my eyes and shake my head until it just disappeared like some bad dream.
And I lose heart. You look to people you’re close with to sustain your faith in human decency; when they fail, it’s hard to keep the act going.
I suppose I want to believe that people are better than they are, which is simply one little part of my hope-springs-eternal desire to see the world through innocent and ignorant eyes, seeing everything as far simpler than it is, and aren’t we all basically human and want the same things? Aren’t we?
But more than that, I want to believe, somehow, that my believing that people are, or at least can be, better than their worst impulses will somehow influence them to actually be so. I don’t know how that works, but I think I believe that if I live my life with the strength and determination to love others and support them, that they’ll learn to be good in their own ways and take care of themselves and one another. Such is the wishful thinking of a Cancer.
And so, with the tale of my drunken friends and co-workers floating in my head, all the wind just went out of me. Maybe it’s because it’s the holiday season, when we Americans decide, as a collective, to subject ourselves to inane Christmas music we hate (really, is there anyone out there who doesn’t loathe it?), consumer hysteria, and infinitely more stress and anxiety than we endure in any other part of the year. Somehow in all the madness and blinking red and green lights, the bits about love and caring for one another get lost. Or perhaps trampled underfoot, like so many unfortunate shoppers at a Wal Mart before dawn. It just makes me sadder than hell.
Maybe it was this. Maybe I’m still down about the girl. Maybe it’s just that time of the year. Whatever it is, it played out with me breaking into tears at work when my frustration with a co-worker came spilling out abruptly. I am tough in some respects, but when I speak up and tell the truth through my fear and better judgment, I become a little boy and can hardly keep from choking. I ran in the back room and hid behind boxes of cups and lids to really let it out, and then went back to work. After that, the calm and smiles returned, and my co-worker and I got along a bit better.
I just wish I had the verbal faculty to reason with people and help them stop being so self-destructive, and teach them to be better to one another. My roommate, a Cancer as well, adheres to the philosophy that you have to expect people to let you down; then it’s no big deal most of the time and a pleasant surprise the rest. I hate to admit that he has a point, but I know it’s true. I know there are good people in the world. Maybe I just don’t get out enough.
Either way, I am emotionally and physically exhausted. Thank Amanda Palmer the holiday season is almost over. The ridiculous rituals we build around these specific dates... they are just days, like any other. This time around I have no thought of New Years’ resolutions; each day is just another day, another chance to get back on the right path.


  1. hey, i like christmas music. for about 2 weeks, then i can wait until next christmas.

    happy holidays bro. it's almost over.

  2. p.s. when i move up there in march i am going to teach you to make even more fabulous things with cheese and chocolate.