“A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.”
• Arnold H. Glasow
A true friend is hard to find, and more valuable than all the gold in the world. A true friend will be the one you can count on, and someone that can count on you, because true friendship is a two-way relationship.
Yesterday I experienced a new phenomenon that is a direct result of social distancing. The company I work for decided to hold a Virtual Happy Hour at the end of the workweek. At first I wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out, but everyone actually had a very good time.
The rules were very simple. All the participants had to show what we were drinking, and either describe it or show the bottle. At first we proposed a series of toasts to set the mood and get everyone relaxed,and within a few minutes it was almost like we were out at a neighborhood pub together.
The software we used was MS Teams, because of the recent issues with Zoom, our company is moving away from Zoom rather quickly. The experience was interesting and different, but apparently this is the new “normal” that we will be dealing with for a long time to come.
I am unable to shake the feeling that we are all in serious trouble. The tragic events that continually unfold around us every single day are emotionally exhausting. They cry out for attention and for our compassion and efforts to make things better, but far too many people have taken the position that these things are normal, and that any attempt to reach an understanding or solution to the problems that we face are nothing more than a sign of weakness. This outlook is a self-fulfilling prophecy because ignoring these problems will surely lead to those very same problems growing beyond our ability to control or influence in the future.
I believe that the real culprit to all of this is GREED. THere are far too many people who mistakenly believe that everyone else is out to get them, and more importantly, whatever material possessions they have. Of course these are the same people who measure the worth of their own lives by the material possessions they can accumulate. That focus on THINGS, rather than on PEOPLE, is the root of the problem. Too many people are governed by fear and this is the natural companion to greed.
I am not a materialistic person. The things that I have are transitory. After I’m dead, others can fight over my meagre belongings all they want. I don’t measure my life or my success by how many things I have, I am more ethereal than that. Perhaps this is why I see things in such a different way than so many others. When I see someone in need, my first instinct is not to question how they reached that condition, but rather to help them if I am able to do so. The greedy people will always try to associate some type of flawed character to anyone who doesn’t fit into their micro-box reality. The really sad part is that these same people will always justify their hateful actions with their own peculiar warped religious nonsense. Heaven must love a hypocrite, because those are the people who are so sure that they are “saved”.
Personally, I think that religion is a MINDFUCK designed to maintain the status quo, protect those in power, and quash dissent. I have no use for religion in my life and for the most part I am very happy. Only a fool would claim to be happy all of the time, and once again, the religious lunatics fill that niche rather nicely. I think that t is impossible to be truly happy when others are suffering, and simply ignoring the problem will never make it go away. Trying to to save the world with religion is like spraying air freshener all over the place instead of taking out the garbage.
I wish that I had all the answers, but once again the religious lunatics seem to feel that they are the holders of some sacred truth that defies the cause of humanity. I know that the problems our society faces will not be solved quickly, nor will the solutions be easy. And yet, these things have to be acknowledged and addressed in order for us to move forward. To willingly condemn a portion of the population to poverty and despair will surely lead to that portion of the population finally screaming “ENOUGH!” at the top of their lungs. To do nothing is a choice with repercussions just as surely as taking direct action against the problems are.
Today is cold. I am waiting on the bus to take me back to my home/office after the first weekly meeting with the client for 2016. The meeting was more of a formality than anything else since everyone was more interested in holiday events than in actual work. It is just a way that people have of gradually easing themselves back into the normal routine after taking time off work.
As I wait on the bus I cannot help but wonder where everyone else is going or what is occupying their minds as we huddle together for warmth against the cold. Sadly, there is no conversation amongst us, I suppose that is mainly due to everyone being strangers to each other, although there are pockets of people traveling together who whisper in order to keep their exchanges secret from the rest of us. Another factor is the social disconnect that we all seem to suffer from. Communication with people we don't know is rapidly becoming a lost art. We feel that those who try to interject themselves into our own private space must have some ulterior motive, and we generally accept that those motives must be no good.
And so we wait for the bus. When it arrives, we board in an orderly manner, without conversation and take our seats. I can almost see the walls instantly going up, especially from those who are forced to share their seat with a stranger. I am able to pass the time admiring a young girl seated directly in front of me with her mother. The ice is broken and we connect on the most basic level for a few minutes. Others seated nearby watch us with curiosity but are unwilling to join in. I enjoy the humanity of the moment as my stop gets closer and closer. I have no idea if the mother and child will exit the bus before I do, or whether I will be leaving them.
The innocent conversation helps the time to pass more quickly. I note that there are other tentative conversations starting to take place on the bus now. The ice is melting around us. We begin to sense our common humanity at last. The mood on the bus lightens considerably and it only takes an instant and a few kind words from one person to another.