I Will Take Care
Recently on an errand for work I was walking down Fifth Avenue. I was having a nice stroll around 5 pm as the day crawled toward its eventual end when a man walked past me carrying a coffee table over his shoulder.
I say this casually, but yes it was a big wooden coffee table, like, for magazines, beverages, resting feet on, you know, a coffee table.
The coffee table came dangerously close to my head as we were stuck in people-rush-hour and so I ducked. The man continued to walk and I yelled over my shoulder, “Are you kidding me, dude?!”
Now, a few things.
To begin, I hate confrontation. I hate it. I will literally go miles out of my way to dodge any potential moment where I have to confront my feelings. So the fact that I said, with no hesitation or remorse to this very tall man, “Are you kidding me, dude?!” was a shock to my system.
Secondly, “Are you kidding me, dude?!” is a bit unpoetic. Specifically dude. I wish I had something a bit more indicative of what had happened. Something along the lines of “Could you not carry a wooden coffee table over your shoulder and plow through oncoming walking traffic? Could you walk slower? Could you warn people that this coffee table is over your shoulder and might be harmful?”
You see, I was having an okay day but did not want a concussion. So I could have said something a bit more, I don’t know, reasonable, but nope, I reverted to my middle school whiny phase and asked this stranger if he was trying to tell me a joke. He was not.
Perhaps we should take a bit more care with our every step and gesture. I’m happy I spoke up, but what did I even say?
Lately I find that I overhear conversations and remarks thrown around that are difficult to hear, nonetheless be apart of. Flat out telling people why they are wrong, or what should have happened, or belittling them for various reasons.
Are you kidding me, multiple dudes?
And I feel myself doing it all the time, getting ruffled into a frenzy as to why this one thing I saw I know is right and why does no one get it?!
Why do we get so easily flustered? Why is it we are so easily rattled at the drop of a hat? It’s as though we’re all hoping we can be first in line for tater tots in the cafeteria and are prepared to fight off five hundred million people to make sure we get a fresh batch.
I find myself snapping, quick to defending, quick to judge, quick to give up.
This is a time that calls for our individualism, our pride, a time to stand up, and a time to care.
And I need to care more.
I’ve been realizing this snappiness is a direct result of the fact that I do not sleep well, eat well, think more thoroughly. I need to take care. We all need to take care. I wish hundreds of people to take care before I hang up with them at the front desk, wish them well at the end of the night, sign off a text conversation.
So maybe I’ll embrace this need for care.
Let’s care for what we’re doing and let’s care for each other. In a time of post-grad when we are confused and disoriented, all we can lean on is hope and compassion, that perhaps if we are thoughtful in our endeavors, are aware of our surroundings, and stand up for what’s right, we’re one step closer to figuring it out all. Whatever “it” is.
Maybe I’ll look up in anticipation of said big tall man carrying coffee table.
Perhaps we all could benefit from taking care and compassion in each step, remembering we’re all people trying to get to things, move on from things, and carry furniture to other things.
[Photo by Julie Bloom.]
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