Thursday, July 30, 2015

These Are The People I Worry About. Sid from Santa Fe.

This young woman is not a current student of mine, but the daughter of a colleague. My colleague told me this story and forwarded a blog posting that is excerpted below.

I am not a young man. I'm often annoyed at the way young people act, and when I get kids like this in class, I am equally as afraid for them as I am the planet. 

I'm likely revealing a tremendous lack of empathy by sending this, but I honestly don't know what to make of this world anymore. I don't know how or what I could teach this person. If I am missing something or acting poorly, please forgive me. I just wondered if this strikes anyone like it does me.

She writes:

Last night I was having dinner with my dear friend XXX, and after we finished I took him downstairs to sing him a song in the awesome acoustics of the Wholefoods parking garage. I put all my stuff down in an empty parking spot and then walked around the corner with my ukelele. During the course of one 4 minute song, someone took off with my handbag with all my ID's and cards, keys to my car, some cash, some sacred objects, some really pretty know the whole deal.

The extremely tall cop who did the report said "basically you're S.O.L.". While this has been quite an interesting day of recovering, canceling, letting go of, blah blah blah...the biggest thing I have been sitting with is compassion and SADNESS for the heart and soul of this being, who WHILE I was singing....voice echoing through the parking lot, felt compelled to take my bag...sitting next to my ukulele case...40 feet from where we were standing.

Please if you read, this send a prayer for those who are numb. For those who are hurting. For those who are terrified. For those who have found comfort and safety in apathy and indifference. For those who feel separate and are operating from a win-lose (which is actually a lose-lose) mentality. For those who feel so consumed by the darkness that they have forgotten that they hold the key to allow the light into the cavern of their hearts. In the midst of momentary waves of frustration or feeling inconveniences I am held in the embrace of gratitude for feeling so safe and so loved and so able to give my love...may you be well.


  1. Alvin Toffler discussed this at book length in "Future Shock" in 1970. It's all come true. I get it whenever I encounter college students who won't read, even a couple of lines. What worries me most about that is that it may be because they can't read.

  2. Sid has written some of my favorite posts, especially this one.

    And as for this person, in the real world I'd think she was awfully zen and cool and probably will never have an ulcer. And I admire her spirit. But, I, too, like Sid, I guess, instantly imagine what kind of student she'd be, and it'd be a long semester.

    She'll have lost her research notes because of a long night ukulele session, and she'll just say namaste to me when I tell her she'll have to start again.

  3. I guess what's potentially worrisome is the apparent lack of understanding of how to keep something like this from happening again. This is victim-blaming and using absence of evidence as evidence of absence, but it strikes me that most people, upon being handed a lesson in how shitty the world can be, even if they launch into some hippy-dippy zen thing, they'll express some sentiment along the lines of "I wouldn't have thought I'd have to keep my things in my direct line of site the whole time I was singing, with me being only 40 feet away and it being only a 4-minute song, but apparently I was wrong." You are not going to rid the world of purse-snatchers by writing something like what this person wrote.

    Another thing is that you'd want this person to know the difference between "Please, if you read this, send a prayer . . ." and "Please if you read, this send a prayer . . ."

  4. I have a version of this where I teach, except it comes in the guise of "God's will." If something doesn't go as planned, because the student didn't plan well, "it must be God's will" or "it must be because God is trying to teach me a lesson." Um... yeah, the lesson would be to plan better so you don't have to "learn a lesson" from failure. It sounds benign, but I've had students chalk up their own lack of awareness of their surroundings to it being "God's will." Ironically, the same isn't the case for when they want to dispute a grade. Then it's all the professor's fault!