Every day, I look around, astonished, at the amplitude of rudeness around me.
An auto rickshaw comes towards me, at me, on the wrong side of the road, and stares sullenly, audaciously. Voices rise at dissenting views, affronted by the simple divergence of opinions, indignant at having to explain themselves. Phones scrolled even as I talk to the now downward-looking face. Internet trolls, who don’t know me yet feel at ease to pounce and denounce with abandon.
These actions are rude, it’s important to call them out for what they are. What’s astonishing is the manner in which they have become an accepted part of the surroundings. “Ignore them,” someone tells me. The car behind me honks, urging me to skirt around the errant rickshaw and get on with life. “Don’t worry about it, that’s just how he is, that’s just how she is,” I’m counseled. “You’re better off to ignore it.”
Ignore it? Is that really the way to respond to this? I’m flabbergasted. How quickly we have loosened the strings of decency that bound us as civilized. We have lost sense of the norms that set us apart from animals in the pursuit of money, time, getting ahead, winning, whatever. It used to be that calling someone an animal was to insult him; I now hesitate to use this term as animals consistently seem to be the better lot to us.
Every day, the rude acts multiply. A thousand tiny cuts that are unnoticeable until I realize I’ve bled out my humanity. Then what?