I can sure understand what I've heard the older folks speak on for so long about the absence of common decency, manners and proper civil behavior amongst each other in this society.
As a matter of fact, I am beginning to sound just like them as I seem to channel the same energy of those long gone faces that I can remember coming up.
.......and I guess I have turned into one of those old dudes who share the same sentiments that those Elders did not so long ago.
But it's true.
It seems as though with each passing generation the standards of decency drop drastically and the abyss seems at this point to be bottomless.
The question is - how low can we go?
It seems as though there is no end in sight, and while all subsequent generations have their extreme rebellious periods, the consequences of the present indulgences have dangers to them that can cause irreversable damage.
But the first signs of this social erosion that signal this decay is the lack of common courtesy and decency.
Nobody greets each other anymore.
Sure, if a person is in your "crew" as they say it today or in your inner circle then the love is spread without any hesitation. But no one seems to extend themselves with a kind word or deed to someone that they don't know.
Therefore, if you don't know anyone then you are screwed.
I was on the phone with a close friend to whom I've know for over forty years (YES! You heard right! Forty years! And at the time of this writing I am five months away from turning forty nine!) and I told him that if I came into a large sum of money that I would purchase a large subdivision of homes in a remote gated community and move all of our friends in our inner circle there so that we can have the perfect community where everyone knows everyone and our kids would know what it was like for us growing up so that they could develop into socially conscious adults more so than what we see today in our youth.
Yeah I know.......I'm just dreaming right?
But I would damn sure damn sure do it if I could!
Is living in the past my only escape? It seems as though it is!
Well let me have my fantasy since it doesn't seem like my dream reality is going to come true any time soon.......
Let me dream of the time when it was mandatory for everyone to smile and greet you with an enthusiastic "Good Morning" which helped to subconsciously make you feel as though you were part of something bigger than yourself and made you feel needed and wanted.
This is why today the opposite is true.
No one greets each other anymore and the effects on our community is devastating!
Whether you have observed this or not, just the mere act of greeting everyone who crosses your path is a type of social recalibration and alignment that beats that antisocial spirit and demeanor out of you and brings you right back into your senses and away from any extreme behavior down the road because it was nipped in the bud early.
.......think this is not true? Well if you really think about it we had a LOT LESS people "GOING POSTAL" back in the day than we do now! And of the truth be told there was always that weird kid down the block that never spoke to anybody but we knew that we had to watch out for him because he socially quarantined himself! Lol!
Now the majority of our youth and society in general carry themselves like a prison dorm full of incarcerated lifers as the streets have a tension in them that goes above and beyond any Corrections Department lock down that you can name anywhere in this country!
Take a walk down the street. No one makes eye contact yet we all are watching everything and anything that approaches our private space. Then, when someone gets within our space close enough to do us harm, we prepare ourselves for the unknown by going into that tentative battle mode by clutching whatever it may be in our pockets - ready to whip it out in a split second to defend our lives if we have to.
Sure. I have learned to think this way from young to a degree because of my personal circumstances that stemmed from some pretty frightening events that have happened to me in public but it is not an all consuming mindset for me like it is for many today in our society. I mean, this state of mind draws no more power from my total psychic energy than a home security alarm does from the overall power consumption of the home that it protects.
.......a small energy investment indeed in the overall picture but one that is highly necessary with huge returns.
The aforementioned mentality is to be expected but anything of the extreme is just not healthy! I remember about three years ago when I was walking down the street from where I live coming from taking a walk to the local market that I encountered an older woman trying to push an old stackable clothes washer and dryer from her yard and I guess eventually to the curb so that the garbage pickup could take it away the following morning.
Well as I got closer to her it was just too obvious that she did not have the strength to move this heavy item even an inch from where it sat in her front yard and it would have been a crime for me to simply walk past this woman and not offer to help her complete her task.
She wasn't even dressed for the task. I mean she looked as though she was dressed more for gardening than tackling a piece of heavy equipment that I would say weighed more than her. She had light shoes that were made of some type of black fabric that had a light brown pliable sole - much like the kind that we would buy from the Chinese store back in the day that we thought were the "Kung-Fu" shoes that the famous Asian martial arts star Bruce Lee would wear while kicking dozens of butts to our amazement on the big screen.
Her khaki pants exposed half of her calf, which was obviously a wardrobe miscalculation, to the delight of the bugs who treated her lower extremities like an all you can eat restaurant buffet that she constantly smacked away from biting her legs several times as I approached her yard.
But the only item that seemed to be right with her outfit that day aside from the white tee shirt that was stained with the juice from the various berry bushes in her yard were the blue medical gloves that she wore and the wide brimmed hat that she wore that seemed to be more of a prop to hide behind to gaze her surroundings than to protect her eyes from the sun.
But I knew that she was aware of my presence because of how she slyly peeked from below her hat, never allowing me to see her full face while she scoped me quickly from head to toe. But I understood that she was probably alone an feeling a little helpless so I didn't allow her paranoid actions stop me from offering my help because it was only the right thing to do.
"Excuse me Ma'am!" I said in my most polite and non threatening voice, because I know my big bald head and thick body size and proportions could be very intimidating to a complete stranger, lol! - "May I help you take that appliance out of your yard for you? I think I could save you the trouble."
She was overjoyed. She tried not to show it but the covert smile that she flashed briefly spoke volumes as the thought of getting help truly made her day. And you can see her now calculating the extra time that she would now have where she could probably get even more tasks completed in her yard for that day.
The pleasure was mine as this still very nimble elderly lady stood back as if to watch an awesome display of strength from the circus strongman in the traveling carnival. It was a welcome stage that surely push back any feelings of a mid-life crisis that I was feeling for that day. So it was a mutaully beneficial arrangment if only for thos efew moments.
I grabbed the appliance like a sumo wrestler grabs his opponent upon their initial contact, heaving and rocking back and forth as if to "feel" the weight of what I was about to tackle then in on short intense burst of testosteronized (With a sprinkling of insecurity based adrenalin!) aggression the appliance found itself neatly by the curb awaiting the arrival of the sanitation men the following morning only to reveal a nice clear spot in the soil where the appliance was where she could plant something new.
After a quick moment of silence where I caught my breath and found myself feeling good for completing my first "good deed of the day" (Remember those?), I was finally treated to a full gaze from this woman who now felt indebted to me and now gained a modicum of trust after I revealed what type of heart I possessed through my favor to her. She wasn't one for many words as I assumed that she couldn't speak well or maybe didn't speak english at all. It didn't matter. I would have helped this woman with anything that she may have needed because what you through out to the universe will always come back to you.
So while I never expected anything from this happy woman in the form of compensation I just wasn't prepared for the revelation of what gravity brought to my attention in the midst of that feel good moment of accomplishment that we were in the middle of enjoying.
This nice lady motioned to me as if she wanted to give me a hug of gratitude and as I began to step toward her to oblige her gesture out dropped a 9 Millimeter Glock from under her shirt!
Oh my GOD!
Grandma was packin' some HEAT!
While she may have been helpless to move that old appliance to the curb, she was definitely not fearful of ANYTHING at all and I could only imagined what would have happened if I had a different type of spirit in my approach to her, what if I tried to do this woman any harm?
I surely would have found out the hard way now wouldn't I?
But at that moment there was a silence that seemed to last forever but was punctuated with the biggest explosion of mutual laughter as she quickly put her "piece" back into the band of her khaki pants and grabbed me and hugged me tight in a manner that let me know that we would be friends for a LONG LONG TIME to come! LOL!
After refusing the few crumpled dollars that she offered me for my time I motioned to her to spend them on those sad looking kids across the street who watched the ice cream truck do business with a screaming crowd of happy children who knew that they were about to treat their taste buds to a treat that would refresh them for an afternoon of play and frolic in the hot Orlando Florida sun.
As I walked off to hear those kids line up behind her all smiling as she waved at me in the distance I couldn't help but think of how one good deed had set off a chain reaction that affected the day of so many people for the greater good.
Isn't this what it's all about?
So it made me to know that while the world seems to be consumed with going straight to the pits, common sense will never go out of style as long as we can collectively refuse to submit to such a doomed mindset.
Do a good deed, greet someone with a smile, be ready to help those in need in the human family and the world will be that place that we've always dreamt it would be!