Uff da. Went to bed and woke up with internet hate on my mind (and on my news feed). It’s prolific over here these days – is it for you too? Truly, the things that people – many of whom I know to be intelligent and critically thinking human beings – post on the world wide web is mind-blowing. What happened to, if you can’t think of something kind to say, don’t say anything at all?
(Sidebar #1: TIME?! How do people find the time to engage in such unkind, alienating, or otherwise snarky social media communication? I know it only takes a mere micro second of micro aggression to Like this or that, and just a few more such seconds to Share or Link that, but really – why are people choosing to spend precious precious time on spreading hate?? Or do I just have a time management problem, and could possibly allow for more internet trolling if I just cut out some other activities from my daily routine?)
(Sidebar #2: ENERGY?! How, pray tell, do people find the emotional and physical energy to read and spread such disrespectful and mean propaganda? Seriously, I find that after a few short minutes of letting my anger stew about any one thing or another, or reading some article about doom and gloom, I’m completely spent. I’m looking for a power nap and a granola bar to give me the energy boost I need to, you know, continue on with life.)
We’re talking kindness here…
In light of the insensitivity and disrespect on my news feed, I was doing a lot of deep breathing on the way to the bus this morning (it helped that the lilacs are still blooming). Trying to remind myself of the good things that I see human beings doing for each other these days. And praying for some compassion and empathy for those who, though they may present themselves like jerks on the interwebs, are actually probably not.
Well, good news, dear friends, public transit did not disappoint. In my mere 7 minute bus ride, I not only received an unsolicited compliment from a sweet lady (“That sweater just looks stunning with your hair color!”), I was also delighted by a teenage boy, who, when preparing to exit the bus at the same stop that I was getting off at: paused, took out an earbud, looked me in the eye, gestured towards the door and said, “Ladies first.”
UM, PEOPLE. It took EVERYTHING in me not to knock this kid down with a bear hug and completely and utterly gush over his kind gesture. And then of course beg to meet his parents – or whoever took the time to instil such manners in him.
I. was. floored.
HE TOOK OUT AN EARBUD.
HE MADE EYE CONTACT.
In my informal research of the teenage species – this is MONUMENTAL. And active conversation skills are one of my love languages (I see your eye contact and undivided attention!), so I was completely beside myself.
I reigned it in though, because it wasn’t quite 8:00 a.m., and my aforementioned research reminded me that my unrestrained gushing might, gee, I don’t know, embarrass this strapping young lad. SO, I said a bright and emphatic “Thank you!” with as much gusto as I deemed socially appropriate and skipped off the bus into my office building, confident that maybe the next generation will get this thing right?
And maybe, just maybe, these acts of micro kindness will reach critical mass and quell the hate (internet and otherwise)?
Sweet Jesus, let it be so!
(In other news: my heart is still racing. You guys – he took out his EARBUD ……)