random hate

January 19, 2007

my day is precariously balanced by the forces of goodness and hatred. i get on the rta tram and realize, after the train starts moving, that my student pass expired yesterday. daughter of the plastic age, i have no cash on me. fare is about $1.50. would you ruin someone’s morning for a $1.50? rta conductor-woman damn well tried.

she has to know, working the route she’s on, that students at our university get a new pass every semester. whether i had the new one in my hand or not, it exists. chill lady. it’s not as if i was TRYING to cheat the city transportation system out of a whole buck-fifty, oh my. all i’m trying to do is get to work.

i ask her what she wants me to do since we’re already moving, and she just keeps repeating “it’s expired, it’s expired” as if i didn’t hear her the first ten times.

and let me tell you about the attitude. i’m sorry if your life isn’t going as you planned. i’m sorry that you run a goddamn train up and down the same fifteen stops day in and day out in what must be one of the top five most depressing U.S. cities. i really am, it sounds intolerable. but at the same time, WHAT have i ever done to you? i was polite, i was apologetic. you don’t know me, and yet i can feel the venom. you think you’re better than me? smarter than me? what is this about exactly? a power-trip? embarassing people in front of others somehow makes you feel better about your place in life? doesn’t change the fact that you’re still sitting there in the same cheap uniform, your only power being the starting or stopping and opening or closing of doors on a graffiti-covered tram car whose top speed is 35 mph. that’s it. rolling your eyes at me, turning your back while i’m still talking, making me get off at the next stop—that doesn’t change things.

this random hate, it only spreads. negativity breeds negativity. she puts me in a bad mood, i glare at the old guy eye-balling me around the corner. i stomp the twenty minute walk back to campus because the city is so ghetto that no place takes credit card. i hiss expletives at the bone-chilling wind.

however, i at least cooled down. i have no desire to make another human miserable just for the hell of it when they’ve done nothing to earn such wrath.

my day is off-kilter until, much later, a librarian restores balance. she is wonderfully kind and helpful. i’m cheered. it’s a small thing, but kindness adds a bounce to my step. such small things, really, and yet so powerful. that boy who doesn’t know you and won’t ever see you again opens a door while you’re sweating and struggling with heavy bags, so tired you could screech. a kind woman who lets you go before her in line because you look harassed. a man who is concerned about young girls stranded downtown and hands them cab fare, no strings attached. someone who sees you drop a twenty dollar bill and instead of pocketing it, runs after you. i love all of this. there’s enough sadness and negative energy in the world without adding more. it’s only $1.50. let it go.


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