Disgusted By Humanity

15 Jun

Last night, H had just come home and I was standing in the kitchen writing a shopping list when I see a young Asian fellow out on the sidewalk shouting and waving to get my attention. Kind of odd as there aren’t any Asians on our street and certainly no one has ever waved to me before. (I’ve noticed that smiling and waving at strangers just for the sake of being neighbourly is looked upon as being weird here.

I couldn’t understand what he was trying to say, so I said I’d send H out to see what he wanted, since he still had his shoes and coat on.

Apparently, this guy was an international student from out of town and had been down in South Melbourne doing touristy things where someone pickpocketed him. Since the thief took all his money, he had no way to get back home (some few hours north of the city by train- I forget where exactly), so he had made his way to our neighbourhood looking for some relatives he thought lived here, but it turned out they weren’t here after all.

He was crying and just wanted to know if we could give him enough money for a train fare to get back home. I felt so bad for him. It’s not nice being stranded in a strange city as it’s getting dark and not having any money or anyone to help you.

We gave him what he needed plus a little extra (fortunately, thanks to me, the swear jar always has plenty of reserve cash in it), but I wonder if we shouldn’t have offered to drive him to the train station or made him a sandwich to take with him or something. It’s not far to the station and it wasn’t that cold out yet, but he didn’t have a jacket and he had probably been walking a long time already. I hope he got home okay and that no one pickpocketed him again.

It really disgusts me that there are people in the world who, while not being serial killers or bank robbers or anything like that, are still just as morally depraved. A petty thief who pickpockets someone has the same disregard for another person’s life or safety that a more hardcore criminal does.

I mean, suppose that boy hadn’t found anyone to help him and just wandered through the city all night. Any number of bad things could have happened to him. He could have been the victim of another crime or froze to death or come down with pneumonia or something. All because some selfish pickpocket wanted what little cash he might have been carrying. The person who pickpocketed him obviously thought that his getting a few free dollars was worth more than another human being’s safety and well-being.

It also upsets me that this boy had clearly been out walking around for a long time, visibly distressed, and no one else had helped him. It was about 5pm, and between 3pm and 7pm, there are always a lot of people out and about in our neighbourhood, as kids get picked up from school and people come home from work. No doubt dozens of other people saw him, but didn’t offer to help.

I know if it were me in that situation, I’d have to be feeling pretty desperate to go and starting shouting into a stranger’s window for help. Not only is that a bit dangerous (you never know who lives there- I’m hoping it was my polka-dot apron that put him at ease), but it’s a very humiliating thing to have to start begging for help and I think most people would first try to avoid having to do that. I’m disappointed in all of my neighbours that must have surely seen this boy walking through the streets crying and just chose to look the other way. No fewer than half a dozen other people passed by my window in the ten minutes preceding. Is it that much of an inconvenience to approach someone in distress and try to help them?

I often say that I hate people, that humanity disgusts me. The usual reaction I get to making statements like that is disbelief or a “you don’t really mean that” mini-lecture. But I do mean it. Most people, when given the choice between doing what is right and doing what is easy, will always choose the easy path, thinking only of their own conveniences and comforts. Sad.

6 Responses to “Disgusted By Humanity”

  1. togathernomoss June 15, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    The image from Paint makes this post.

    I don’t hate humanity. I hate large swathes of it and both casually and professionally dislike a good chunk more, but there are plenty of good people out there, as you just so amply demonstrated. A lot of people would never give money to a complete stranger, but you did. Might not be ideal, but that is definitely something.

    I’m sure Mr Student will be really rather grateful for particular kindness.

    • housewifedownunder June 15, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

      Yes, there are some good people out there, but they seem vastly outnumbered by all the bad people and the apathetic people.

      I have never understood people who are reasonably well off in life but reluctant to offer a bit of money to those in need. I always think, “What’s $20 to me and what’s $20 to him?” To me, it’s not much and I won’t really miss it. To a person who lost their wallet and is stranded with no means of getting home, it must seem like everything.

      What baffles me even more are people who are reluctant to offer even a simple kindness. It doesn’t have to be money. Simply asking if someone is okay or needs help doesn’t cost anything.

  2. Kristin June 16, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    I don’t think you hate humankind. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have helped that poor guy.
    Yes, it also very often makes me sick to see how ignorant people are, how heartless and selfish, but as togethernomoss said, it’s not all of them. We just pay more attention to those people and sometimes oversee the others.
    I also believe that everybody learns his or her lesson someday. Some people just need an eye opener like being in a situation where they need help or are treated badly themselves. And we can all just do our share by spreading love and trying to make this world a little better. I am sure you have inspired this young man to walk through life now with open eyes for those in need of help. You should be happy!

    • housewifedownunder June 30, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

      The very next day, an acquaintance of mine had her bike stolen. Maybe I’m too sensitive to deal with the real world sometimes, but it really upsets me that people can be so cruel and thoughtless. I sure hope that boy got home okay.

  3. sozofia June 20, 2012 at 1:41 am #

    I don’t think you hate humanity… I think you hate people who have a lack of it :o)

    • housewifedownunder June 30, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

      Well, that’s true. But I do generally hate people for a wide variety of reasons!

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