Sunday, January 18, 2009

"Those who are quiet, those who don't know how to tell, who can't make themselves listened to, who don't seem important, those who are mute, those who always think of the good answer at home, those whose stories people aren't curious about - aren't their faces more meaningful, more full? As if the letters of the stories they can't tell mingle on these faces, as if they hold signs of silence, bruise, even defeat." Black Book, page 263 (Turkish edition), Orhan Pamuk


The pilot I spoke of in the previous post. Don't misunderstand me. I spent hours watching survivors' and witnesses' accounts of him landing on the Hudson (and I didn't like watching Gazan hospitals, so the criticism was directed at myself). I admire this guy so much. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to be so quick and decisive if I were in his place (and even with his experience!).

Yesterday I went to watch Slumdog Millionaire with a good friend of mine in Haymarket Cineworld. We didn't have assigned seats, so people sat wherever they found. A couple (with huge muscles) sat in front of us. I think muscle volume takes away from brains, and soon I was proven right. A guy who was clearly sick and had difficulty walking stopped by their row, asking if he could take the seat next to the couple. This asshole's precious backpack occupied the seat, and he pointed at the seat right in front, asking "what's wrong with this one?" The guy said he had neck problems. Frowning and hissing, the asshole finally moved to move his backpack, but by then the sick guy said, "Don't worry, I'll find another seat," and climbed back the stairs. My friend and I were shocked, the asshole's other half was clearly embarassed, looking back to see where the guy went. And although I was the closest bystander, I didn't do anything. A moment later I thought, "I should have given him my seat and move next to this asshole, obliging him to sit with his backpack on his lap!" But it was too late. I played the scene in my head over and over, how I would spare the sick guy the trouble of finding another seat, how I would face down the asshole and ask kindly but firmly, "Sir, have you paid for this seat?" Then I briefly thought to clear myself, "but the sick guy should have gotten a disabled seat!" We need regulations to protect the weak from assholes, right?

But I didn't do anything, and the moment passed. One of the indications of a person's value is how they react to a situation in very short notice. Of course experience helps, but if you pass your chance, another moment may never come again. And I really think we shouldn't let assholes like this prevail if we have any respect for ourselves.

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