Friday, June 26, 2009

Mean People Suck

Cartoon of actual scene I witnessed near Times Square some years ago
I used to have a small poster that simply read, "Mean People Suck". I don't know where it is now; probably mislaid in one of my many moves. But if there was to be a theme for my week it would be this.

Mean People Suck.

Mean in spirit, that is.

Last night I was in a garden. It is a communal garden for the residents of our apartment block. Very attractive. Leafy. Green. Fountains. Garden chairs and benches. Flower beds. Space. Gated. About fifteen of us were meeting after work to discuss some issues with the building's management. I normally don't attend these meetings but yesterday the sun was shining for the first time in weeks, and I was home from work. So I sauntered across to the park around sixish.

I introduced myself to my fellow residents and we shared our food and wine. And then ...

Two little boys, obviously brothers and obviously from our apartment block wandered in. They were some distance from us, say ten meters or so, and were playing ball. Now it wasn't a cricket ball, but some soft baby-sized pretend base-ball and the boys were maybe five and seven years old.

The ambiance around the table of food and wine turned from happy to bitter. It was as if vinegar had been poured into the very souls of the majority of the people there, people who just minutes ago had been friendly, laughing and breaking bread with each other.

"Who has a cell phone handy?" a woman asked. "I do," I replied. "Phone the building and REPORT THOSE BOYS!" I was told.

I was aghast. I was new to this group and although I'm no sheltering violet I like to stay in the background until I get to know people. But enough is enough!

"I'm sorry," I replied. "I cannot do that."

Now it was the demander's turn to look shocked. "Why?" she demanded in her demanding tone.

"Because they are kids," I said. "They aren't hurting anyone."

"BUT IT IS DANGEROUS," chimed in a man opposite. "AND IT IS AGAINST THE BY-LAWS," he added in the manner of practiced courtroom prosecutor summing up.

"I'll talk to them," I compromised, and walked over to the older of the two boys. I explained to him that the people at the table were worried, and would they try to stay a bit further away and to be careful when throwing the ball. He looked puzzled and handed me the ball. It was a squishy sort of ball. A bit like those rubbery relaxer things people use to un-tense their fingers. I was beginning to think of some better uses of the ball, but handed it back and returned to the waiting table.

"Well???" I was asked. I explained that the boys would be careful and that they were very polite boys who, it they cared to look had moved right away.

Not good enough was the consensus, although a few of the more sensitive-looking apartment dwellers threw me sympathetic looks.

"So are you going to call?" the Demander asked again. "I already told you, I cannot," I replied.

"We could have our eyes knocked out," a man said.

Now I was angry. No longer the newcomer. Enough is enough. My aussie heritage came into play. Don't let the bastards get you down, I reminded myself. "Sure," I said. "I know a woman who lost her leg because a cab ran her over on Madison Avenue. Should we ban cabs?".

I finished my wine and poured myself poured myself a red. And drank it. I was pissed - in both senses of the word.

And then I saw that the meeting was adjourning. Food was being gathered up, glasses emptied out onto the ground. We were to go inside to some person's apartment in order to form a committee to sue someone. "I think I'll go home," I told the woman next to me. "I don't think I belong."

"Oh no, we need people like you," she insisted.

I'd write more on this but I have no desire to be SUED!!! Sheesh!

After the meeting I watched the news about Michael Jackson who had died several hours after Farrah Fawcett. Apparently he could not live without her. Poor MJ. I'll never forget his "Thriller" album. And oh yes he went a bit batty toward the end, but so what.

And so I was somewhat shocked to read today that there are some people who think the world is better off without him. Yes he was weird. But he was still a human being. And his album "Thriller" and his dance and song were pure art.

New Yorker Skate boarder
New York Skate Boarder
Van Gogh was weird too. As was Caravaggio. Spike Milligan was extremely weird. Indeed some people believed and the man on the donkey into Jerusalem was off his scone. And that Chinese guy who stood alone in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square in 1989. What sort of idiot does that? John Lennon and Yoko. Most strange. Eddie Izzard with his breasts and cunning use of jam.

Some people even think New Yorkers are weird. ASIF!

Yes some cut off their ears. Some defy tanks. Others like Susan Boyle can't handle the stress of being on the world stage scream and yell.

Better weird than boring I think to myself as the working week ends.

"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind..." John Donne. Weird?

RIP Michael Jackson. I for one will miss you.

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