I’m honestly really sick of the “Letter to someone I saw in one moment of your life” posts. You know what I’m talking about- “Dear fatty on the track” or “Dear Mom at the Park” type posts. Most of them seem like some kind of strange psuedo-poetic romanticized fictionalization of a real person. I don’t know why- as someone who writes fiction- this bothers me SO MUCH. Maybe it’s because I don’t like to romanticize people or events or maybe its because I like to take myself out of the equation when I’m writing or even just observing. Maybe it’s that I like to be involved in the moment I’m living.
For example- the Dear Fatty letter got a lot of attention after the “fatty” responded, basically saying “how dare you pretend to know my story. PS. Go die in a fire.” I think that is the very correct response. Like “hey, now that I know you’re staring at me and daydreaming about how you’re better than me- screw you. Not because you’re judging me- everyone does THAT- but because someone needs to smash your publicly judgmental face in.
Same thing with the Dear iPhone Mom letter- I’m sure that many, MANY moms responded- how DARE you act like you know me. How DARE you act like you know my life. If I want to ignore my twirling princess for 10 seconds- it’s none of your business. As the mom of 3 twirling princesses- I agree. Yeah, don’t ignore them every moment of the day, but there are times when kids will need to be able to entertain themselves and, sorry kid, but I didn’t take you to the park so you can do the same thing you do in the living room, get up on that slide and I might or might not take a video/picture which I might or might not put on Facebook. Learn to entertain yourself. I’ve met some adults who never learned this skill and they are literally the most annoying people ever. They’re the ones who feel too ignored to let it go. So I needed to write a letter.
And to be fair, I’ve been thankfully and annoyingly interrupted by people who do express themselves in real time. Sometimes I’ve SAID “You don’t know my life.” Like when i was wearing a revealing costume when I had to pop into a store before a Halloween party and someone said “Just wait until YOU have a daughter.” I DID have a daughter. I now have three. And if they want to wear a revealing costume when THEY’RE 24 and moved out, I’ll live with it.
I’ve heard a father say to his daughters “Don’t ever do that,” in a restaurant after my friend burped really, REALLY loudly and then started laughing. We all laughed even harder after he said that.
I’ve gotten the “I can’t believe how good you are at x,” and “I can’t even imagine how you handle y” comments at just the right moment to save my sanity. I’ve had strangers step in and save the day when my car started billowing smoke and wouldn’t move from the end of the offramp. I’ve had people offer to carry things for me, say “I love what you just said” or “Sorry to interrupt but I LOVE that bag/hat/hairstyle/move.”
I try to be the kind of person who brings something positive or something different to the moment. I’m not naturally very outgoing, inside I’m the stereotypical writer- I just want to read and write and hide. But that doesn’t benefit anyone.
You see these videos and pictures and see stories of the kind of awful thing that happens because people don’t want to get involved. There’s a vido going around of a woman getting beaten in a park and her toddler- bottle in mouth- is the ONLY one who even tries to fend off the attacker by kicking him. There are GROWN MEN standing by watching. I don’t know their story or what’s going on in their lives or minds, but I do know that I would be really disappointed in myself if I did nothing. I would be really disappointed in any man I know that did nothing. All it takes is one person to spark the action. If you run in to stop an atrocity, others will follow.
It takes ONE person to break a window and pull out a kid/dog/trio of kidnapped women. It takes ONE person to say “Stop, thief!” or even “someone do something!” and save the day. It takes one person to call 911 instead of filming or to call 911 BEFORE filming.
I’ve been the person to say something on occasion. I’ve called 911 and realized that of the dozens of people walking and driving by- I was the ONLY one who did.
Is it that hard to think about others? Is it too much of a disruption to your comfortable delusions about the world to try to make it the safe, lovely place you want it to be.
You’re screaming at the trash for being there without lifting a finger to pick it up. You’re doing the opposite of yelling “don’t go in there!” at the movie screen by NOT saying “don’t go in there” out loud to a person who is about to stumble into a bad situation.