In the spirit of being honest and practicing what I preach, I'm going to tell you about something I did, or rather, did not do, that makes me a terrible person. I was driving home around 2 p.m. today, the snow was coming down, a decent inch or so on the ground enough to make the useless wheels on my car slide and skid for little reason. Then to my right, I saw a man lying on the sidewalk, propped up on an elbow. I can't be 100 percent sure but I'm fairly certain he had a cane and a bag lying next to him. The traffic was slow but still moving so I kept driving. And I was wondering what the fuck I was doing. There is no way a man would be lying on the sidewalk on purpose in the midst of snowfall. Half a block out, I told myself that I could do a u-turn and check on the man.
But I didn't.
I can make excuses about how I thought my wheels would spin out of control if I attempted such a maneuver on the road right then. Or how I kept thinking that the man might be racist and start yelling at me because of the story my mom had just told me about a white woman who started screaming at her at the grocery store for no reason. None of it matters. What's so wrong with finding out than assuming?
I could have made a legal turn and gone around the block but the point is, I didn't go back to help. Instead, I hoped and yes, even prayed that there was someone out there who was a better person than me and would stop.
Let's be honest, thoughts and prayers do very little to actually help someone.
I am beyond disappointed in myself for being the type of person I loath, a spectator. It would have taken nothing out of my day to make sure he was OK and help him but I decided that it would somehow be more productive to hope that someone else would stop.
But what are the statistics for that kind of thing? How many people have to decide to turn the other cheek for every one person who stops? The number for the former is much too high because the line of cars directly behind me kept driving, too.
Is there a particular trait that determines who will take action versus those who will just talk about it? I don't know, it's one of the shittiest things I have ever done and I have been home for a couple of hours now but all I can think about is how wrong I was. What if he was badly hurt? What if that were my mom or even me?
I know this doesn't put my character under the best light but I want to put this post out there. The blog is, after all, called "Despising Yourself, Positively." I'm documenting this because:
- I feel shitty and it helps to vent somewhere.
- I want a written, out-in-the-universe reminder to never do something like this in the future.
- To publicize my failures just as much as I do my triumphs.
If you are reading this, you are likely aware of the human tendency to shine the spotlight on our successes without giving people a glimpse of what makes us imperfect. I have created a new category for my posts titled "Failures," so you and I can both have a compilation of things I suck at and need to work on. Being a person of action is something I have been awful at for a long time, so I'll be working on that.
Don't be afraid to share with others or even write in a journal about something you feel guilty about. We're not perfect. It doesn't condone the action or inaction, but it helps to put your thoughts and emotions down somewhere to reflect on and better understand yourself and truly think about the consequences of inaction in my case. I don't think doing something bad necessarily makes you bad person. No, I was not a good person in that moment, I did not make the right decision.
I hope that in the future, I will be better than this.
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Filed under: Failure