I was out on my morning jog this morning when something happened that got me thinking.
I was only jogging two little miles thanks to my bum foot but I’m hoping I’ll soon be jogging more. Anyway, I was on my way back, nearly halfway through the second mile, when I caught the eye of an woman walking up the street the other way. Keep in mind, she was on the sidewalk and I was in the street.
I don’t know if this woman was homeless but she certainly looked like she was facing some troubles. Everything about her was dirty. She carried several plastic bags that looked like a mess. And the way she walked was a kind of shamble.
She was about 15-20 yards away from me and, as soon as I caught her eye, she charged up to me out into the street. She puffed up her body like an ape might do to establish dominance. She even took on the same kind of stance and stride as an ape. Mostly, though, she looked bumfuck crazy. She looked like she was about to attack me or something. If she was trying to look threatening, she nailed it.
So, she charges us to me, looking very threatening, and then stopped right in front of me. I mean, she was inches away. She brought up both of her arms, with bags in tow, and thrust herself forward just the slightest bit.
I didn’t know what to do.
I mean, she startled me. I had no idea what was going on. But I also knew something was very wrong – this isn’t the kind of thing that’s supposed to happen.
So, I said, “Excuse me.”
At that moment, her eyes shifted. Before, she had been staring at my chest. Now, she looked up into my eyes and I could see the slightest spark of humanity there.
And I went on my way.
And I couldn’t help but think that’s how so many of us interact, especially online: ready to prove our dominance, ready to attack, and with no recognition for the humanity in the other person. But when we treat the other person with humanity, it can go a long way.
Certainly, it’s a better option.