When you know better you do better- Maya Angelou.
Any idiot can condemn. Consider the review by Anton Ego; the mean food critic in the movie Ratatouille. In his words (paraphrased), the work of a critic is very easy. He/she risks nothing at all. All a critic does is enjoy the pleasure of piercing through the work and output of those who offer themselves up for review. I wrote this piece to confront myself and remind myself of my frailties as a human being. If this piece achieves anything, I hope it reminds my esteemed reader of his/her humanity.
When you live in Lagos; a mad-house city like I do, you don’t realize the joule of negative energy bursting forth in your bowels. There is something to be angry about at every corner. The silly yellow bus drivers and their annoying ways can drive you off the edge. If only road rage can be measured via a meter, then you will realize how serious this is. I have sincerely wished I had a gun I could use to deal with these unruly folks but, with that off the table, I have resorted to using my horn. Yes! That’s my weapon for every unreasonable road user. I toot my car horn at every slightest annoyance.
The human nature is fraught with many shortcomings. While cold blooded murders and extreme battery are easily condemned, worse still are the little things we harbor day to day. Things like harsh words we sow into people, harsh treatment of the less privilege. You don’t realize how mean you have become when the norm is to defend your turf at every turn. Consider the initial example about road use. Unless you really examine the ramifications of your action, you don’t realize the impact of your actions on others. Transferred aggression is all too common these days. Its like we are in a relay race of some sort. We keep passing on meanness. In the name of survival, we trample on the feelings of other people and we are unperturbed by the consequences we create. We do all of these in the name of pursuits. I wonder what really matters?
Our barrage of meanness is not limited to random people. We also extend it to those we truly care about. Yes! Our families and friends. These loved ones of ours get an unreasonable share of our aggression. That’s why a husband will give a mean response to a wife and vice-versa. Its like we are competing for the award of the most sultry. Patience has become a sign of weakness. In Lagos, they call you ‘Suegbe’ (Snail) if you wait for pedestrians to cross the road on a Zebra Crossing. The other day, a Danfo bus driver sarcastically asked me if I was a Zebra for waiting. Everyone is busy these days. There is money to be made is what you hear. Again, I ask what is really important?
Like many, I am guilty of many of these inhumane behaviour. Things cannot continue like this. We must divorce these uncourteous tendencies and embrace a new regime of social decorum. We must consider the feelings of other people even as we pursue our goals. The only way we will create a sane society is to embrace order and be deliberate about expunging anger and rage. Before you remove the stick in your neighbors’ eyes, try removing the log in yours. We owe this world a duty of care to make life better for that next person. We don’t have to suffer the death of a loved one before you know how important they are. As per dealing with the naughty yellow bus drivers and others who seem to make it a stock-in-trade to anger you, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Count your blessings and while there is no guarantee that we will always do right by people, let us try a little tenderness. It goes a long way.
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