a fine example of the decline of humanity

Now, I wasn’t alive in the fifties, so I can’t really say whether the above image’s statement is true or not – although my grandmother will certainly vouch for the idea. The image fits with the theme of today though, while I still try to shake off last night’s unpleasant events.
I’m not sure what parents 10-20 years older than me are doing with their kids these days, but the 20 or so high school students we encountered last night made it seem like they are no longer taught the meaning of respect. It’s of course easy to start generalizing when you’ve had a bad experience – but that’s where I’m coming from today, so until some younger individuals come around who disprove this in my world, I’m going to have to just hope that these little twits are a minority, and move on with life as usual. Ideally this will never happen again.

So what the heck happened, you may be asking by now?

Okay that image is a slight exaggeration, but I do like to exaggerate from time to time, especially in times of frustration. Scott and I were having a quiet movie night at home when right near the end of Jackie Brown, when Jackie and Max had just professed their love for each other, some ruckus started outside our window. I suspected the Smallworks sign was being abused. We continued to listen when a much louder bang occurred followed by the sound of immature laughter. I immediately went for the door and saw that our poor mailbox was beheaded, and a group of high school pre-grads were continuing up the block. Well, the Irish/German in me couldn’t stand for that. Unfortunately, these individuals were not shining examples of human beings.
I realize being a teenager can be rough. I still remember the awkwardness, the insecurity, the random feelings of anger, pain and fleeting happiness. But you know what? I dealt with that crap. I swallowed it, exercised, did theatre, dance, art – things to vent those feelings. I didn’t break people’s shit. Nor did my friends. Why? Because somewhere along the line of growing up, our parents taught us one valuable concept: respect. Not to mention learning how to take out your frustrations through avenues other than onto other people.
Sadly, that same sense of respect is what bit both me and Scott in the ass last night, because we couldn’t be the dirty fight-pickers that these fine examples of the decline of humanity were. When I confronted them and asked them to own-up to their vandalism, the last thing I expected was to have it turned around so that WE were the bad guys.

Oh yeah, we’re just sooo bad-ass

Call me naive – I suppose I just like to think most people have the decency to apologize. Eventually my dad also came out to confront them, and they treated him – a man much wiser than they, the same if not worse than how they’d treated us. They dolled out all sorts of great stuff. Name calling, punching, grabbing, and filming with their digital cameras because it was just so hilarious. I woke up this morning and wished it had all been a bad nightmare. Alas, those children actually exist.
In the end however, it’s encounters like this that bring me back to myself. People are who they are, good, bad, rotten, insecure, loving, hateful…. we all bounce off each other like electrons. There was a whole lot of bouncing going on last night, oh boy.  It’s easy to be negative and lose faith in humanity when things like this happen – but there’s not much we can do about other people, because the change comes from within. So while I hope that these individuals are able to redeem themselves in some way and aren’t all bad, there’s no point in worrying about it.
We called the cops and scared the crap out of them, so hey – at least that worked in our favour.

In the end what matters most is 
how well did you live,
how well did you love,
how well did you learn to let go.

– Unknown (based on quote from Siddhārtha Gautama)