Monday, October 20, 2008

No Time

I do not want to sound like a broken record but some times I find city life and city people so cold and self-centered at times unlike people from the country. There is just no time for anyone as people rush around to no where and I realized that it is also starting to rub off on me. This week one of my close friends lost her Dad, she was strong but still being the youngest and Daddy's girl, there were times where the thought of never seeing him again or talking to him again would overwhelm her. I let her cry on my shoulder so to speak the next night on the phone and asked what arrangements would be made. Later I spoke to our groups of friends to see who was going where and when. This is the part that reminds me that I am in the city now, everyone made statements like "oh I sent her an email" or "I will probably call her" or "I will be in meetings all day so I can't go in the evening". I thought 'wow' when did we get to the point of having so little time in our lives that we could not set aside a moment to go comfort a friend in time of sorrow. When did we become so self centered or uncaring. It is like people don't want to have to put themselves out in the slightest way for others.

In the country we would not dream of missing such an important moment in a friend's life. It is a sign of respect to the family and it would almost seem shameful for us not to go. I remember my sister and I talking about this one day when we first moved to the city. If we went to a funeral or were invited to a wedding in town, we expected it to be huge because there are more people in a city. However we were always surprised at how few people would show up to events like this. Where I came from the halls and churches would be packed if a loved friend was married or their family member passed away. When I went to the wake, there was only one other person from our group of friends. Some people asked me to send their respects however I decided not to, as it is up to them to make the effort. I thought also how silly will it sound to say "Mary is thinking of you in this time of sorrow and feels really bad about picking up a few groceries, that could have waited until tomorrow instead of coming here to support you".

No time, there just seems to be no time left for anything except work, school, TV or the computer. People have to plan out weeks ahead of time to visit each other, and that is even not too often once we get past 27 - 28. I sometimes hear people complain about having to go see their parents as if their time was too good to waste on Mom and Dad, making fun of them because they are old and set in their ways now. I remember at work a woman saying that her father bought a house down the street from her, my thought was, "oh that is good, he will not be lonely and she will have him close by" I was suddenly shocked when all the people around her groaned and said things like "that is awful", "oh no that's bad" or "I would move." Same with kids these days, I know they can be spoiled but there is no time for kids in our society now, maybe that is why they are brats. I always hear about changing schools to run all year, after school programs, before school programs, three year old kindergarten, huge government daycare programs, as both parents have to work these days to make ends meet. It is a fact of life I understand that, just I feel sorry for kids if we have to keep them in an institution because no one has time to look after them. You can pay someone to look after them but you can't pay someone to love them and kids are smart, they know when someone cares. There is just no room or time for them, I understand the cities are too fast paced and dangerous now to let them run around and play like we used to. Same with pets, people complain and say it is cruel if a factory farm locks an animal up in a cage and I agree, but these days how many people lock their dog or sometimes cat in a crate for the day because they don't have time to train them properly or the animal can't stand to be alone. There are people in my building who love their pets and take care of them well, but think for a minute, they lock the dog up at six, leave for work, come back that evening around five, take the dog out then maybe lock him back up at seven, go out for the evening and return near ten or eleven. There is love just no time to show it.

I am just making this observation, not trying to get up on a high horse. In fact the next day I fell into the "don't take my precious time" selfish trap as well. The funeral was in the morning and I was going out to Dave's place and then my parents. I thought I would go to the wake the evening before and that would be enough as the funeral would cut into my travel time. The next night however I was thinking, I am sure my friend had all sorts of plans for the week and she had to change everything, I felt guilty because all I had to do was show up and I failed in doing that, I failed to do something so simple as to give her a little comfort, by giving her a little time.


A Troll At Sea said...


There is nothing that bothers us in other people as much as what we are struggling with ourselves. Or so it would seem.

You just muddle through, and try to do the right thing; it always turns out different from expectations, anyway.

That said, I have been really angry not to be told of some of the funerals back in my former home town--difficult as it might be for some people there, I would have loved to pay my respects both to the deceased and to their families.

Well, it's all water under the bridge, one way or the other.

Hang in there, kiddo.

Anonymous said...

A very credible observation. I see that happening a lot these days now that many of my elders are getting to that age. My parents ALWAYS will send a homemade meal to a friend who is sick, too. I am sure I will be picking that habit up VERY soon. A very true and unsettling observation, Steven.

Greg said...

A good and thoughtful post, Steven. How is it we have all these modern conveniences to make our lives easier, to save us time (that used to be the justification, anyway) and now what do we do with the time...? Help others? We can barely take that time to be properly good to wonder we can't remember other people.

I know some folks think it's morbid when I go to the funeral home, but it's a respect, for the deceased, for their families...and also its a deposit into the kharma bank: someday, god forbid, we will need someone to come and stand with us and be our comfort and our strength.

Stephen said...

I hope my life never gets so hectic that the traditions of respect are forgotten.

W said...

City people aren't cold. Most just manage their time badly and technology always shows them an easy way out.