Is it just me, or do people seem angrier, more frustrated, and more unhappy? I cannot identify the shift in the vibration of our society or the cause for this shift. However, it’s palpable when one watches the news, drives down the highway, or spends time in a busy public place. Is it the political climate? Is it financial distress? Is it dissatisfaction with one’s overall life and situation? I don’t know. I don’t believe it is any one thing but a culmination of things creating this atmosphere of anger and frustration.
I see more signs of the times in heavily populated areas than in my own small town. Don’t get me wrong, our little town of Indiana has angry incidents. Over New Year’s Eve, I learned from my dear friend who has four twenty-something daughters that the kids don’t like to go out to the bars because whenever they do, someone pulls a gun on someone else for some minor infraction. I found this to be very disturbing.
Eric and I attended the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and thoroughly enjoyed the over twenty-one social scene the local college-driven establishments offered. Back in the day, Philidelphia Street was teeming with college kids. The local bars had lines around the block to get in and enjoy drinks, dancing, and partying. There would be the occasional fistfight between drunken frat boys, but I always felt safe and comfortable. Today, Philidelphia Street after 8 p.m. is a virtual ghost town. Not only does there appear to be a decline in social activity, but the college campus is also eerily quiet.
Eric and I have often talked about the lack of activity around the college and how unusual it is to see the downtown area quiet after dark. My conversation with my friend Marie’s girls put things in perspective. It also saddened me that the girls and their friends feel unsafe in their community. This opinion resonated with the young men in their friend groups as well. How sad that today’s youth don’t feel comfortable going out doing things that we, as average college kids, took for granted. If this is how twenty-somethings feel now, what does the future hold for my bean?
I shared with you my frightening experience at an intersection of the Monroeville Mall. That angry incident, that man’s venomous words, and the look of pure rage continue to creep into my thoughts. It is very unsettling to be the focus of a stranger’s anger. However, allow me to share a little nugget of hope, kindness, decency, and being a good, responsible human.
We have a dear friend and a staunch supporter in P. from Oklahoma. I don’t have 100% of the details of the incident, but I will say that P. was solid in my book before. His actions have now elevated him to platinum in my book. P. was trying to find parking at a restaurant. There was a bit of an incident with another driver, also looking for a parking space. Words were exchanged, maybe finger gestures, I’m not sure. Both drivers were frustrated. Most individuals would go about their day. Many would probably spend their meal lamenting over the other person’s stupidity. Some would even permit said incident to ruin their day. Not P. he is a class act.
P. took the high road and then went a step further. He bought the other driver a gift card from the restaurant where the parking debacle occurred. He wrote a note apologizing for the misunderstanding and left the note and the gift card on the driver’s windshield. Kudos to you for being a classy individual P. Not only are you classy, but you also demonstrate the very best in humanity. I’ve got a whole new level of respect for P. from Oklahoma.
My bib overall-wearing comedian is impressed with P’s actions as well. He admired the P’s efforts but, of course, turned everything into a joke. He messaged P. and asked if, after placing the gift card and note on the windshield if he also unscrewed the driver’s valve caps, flattening all four of the tires. He took the jokes to a new level with me and stated that P. probably also peed in the gas tank, keyed the car, and wiped dog poo under the door handles. Sigh, leave it to The Bibbed Wonder to take a great act and reduce it to twelve-year-old schoolboy pranks. Sometimes, I just have to shake my head.
If more people took responsibility and owned their part when misunderstandings occur, the world would be a better place. It’s not easy to admit being wrong. Playing the victim is easier than taking responsibility for one’s part in an unpleasant situation. We can all take a page from P’s playbook and apply it to our own situations. P. takes being a decent human being to the next level. I know I’ve learned something from our dear friend P.
Despite the anger and frustration in this world, good, decent, caring human beings will step up to do the right thing. My prayer is that this atmosphere changes for my bean and her friends. I don’t want my baby to feel unsafe in our world. I want her to relish learning, adventure, life experience, and memory-making. I pray her good days to outnumber her bad days. I hope her life is filled with friends who make her smile and memories that bring her joy. Most of all, I pray she remains safe and unharmed. I hope the world does not jade her and make her cynical. On this chilly, sunny day in March, stay safe, be smart, take the high road, be a decent human being, own your part, and keep washing your hands.