That might in another time and place have been a triumphant one. But while things go well for me, there are people in every other part of my life—personal, family, friends—that are having a tough go of things and/or that are sad. So it’s hard to really feel triumphant when seeing people that you care about suffer. 🙁
As an American, even given all of my cynicism about the country, it’s sometimes easy to forget just how tough—how really, shockingly heartless—this place and this culture can be for the uninitiated. What passes for commerce and common sense here would easily be fraud, insult, and dishonesty elsewhere.
As an American, one gets used to it. We handle the unreliability and amorality of our fellow citizens without thinking about it. We plan ahead, watch our backs, succeed, feel fine. But even while we aren’t busy thinking about it, those nasty things—those worlds of bad intentions and untrustworthiness—are happening to us, changing us, making us all the time what we are.
No wonder we Americans are not nice people. We are subject to an endless barrage of mutual assaults on decency and absolute failures to care, and rather than refuse to accept it, we alter ourselves, become hard and competitive, pre-emptive, defensive, relentlessly successful.
Tonight I have (weeks early) sketched out the arguments that I will make in two of my final papers for the semester. Not only this, but the arguments are good and insightful. Not only this, but the two papers are actually two halves of the same paper on media and cultural materialism which I have deftly sliced into major parts applicable to each class that can easily be united afterward for further work or publication.
This is good.
But I can’t stop thinking about the various people in my life, the sadness that they are experiencing, and the ways in which I’m not helping them (or in some cases even making things worse). This pains me.
I just don’t know how to change it, exactly.
Ironic and vexing. Either I’m not okay or everybody around me is not okay. Either way, the melancholy is never far off. I guess that’s the way life is.