You know how every beauty queen stands up there, fixing her crown and holding back the tears. What’s the first thing she wishes for? That’s right: “world peace.” Dumb as she makes that sound, it’s really the mother of all wishes.
Which is how I feel when I look out at my world from a long shot. The sweeping fields of lush green and yellow ripening in the spring…the cobble-stone streets rambling through country hamlets…the sky-seeking towers of our great cities…throngs of happy families giggling through Disney World…caring teachers happily herding their kids through recess…little ones building sand castles…congregations praying in the pews… crowds standing with their hands on their heart at flag-led parades and games.
People en masse can be people at their best. Because you’re experiencing them like a Currier & Ives or Norman Rockwell painting. Humanity! The pinnacle of the Creator’s [or if you insist, Evolution’s] handiwork down the eons. The one strain of planetary life which has grown and conquered all in its way.
Now here’s the problem.
I can’t speak for you, but when the long shot tightens, and you find yourself shoulder-and-sweat next to them, something happens to humanity. The nobility gets grainy. Standing behind humanity in an growly checkout line, I seem always to get the shopper who waits till then to take out her coupons… driving behind a serpentine stretch of rush-hour traffic, I always find the hesitant first-time driver… on planes, I wonder why the passenger next to me is without exception the largest, latest most luggaged one on board…and as for the theatre, I can bet my life that 15 minutes after it starts, the usher will be jabbing a flashlight in my face to guide the entire party of late-comers to the very damn middle of my aisle!
I want to love my fellow man; and woman too. I believe in world peace, Santa Claus, and all the Rockwell calendars in my house. I really really do. But why, why, are people so different than humanity….?
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