At What Point Did I Become So Cynical?

Last week Cheney and I set out to Spartanburg to visit Harbor Freight Tools to pick up needed supplies to finish the farmhouse table that now sits in my dining room. During our journey we stopped at a bank to access the ATM machine. When we drove into the parking lot, I noticed a man of less than desirable attire hanging around the machine. I immediately became nervous - maybe due to the fact that there was a woman standing at the machine accessing it and the day before a bank in the area had been robbed. I wasn't nervous enough to express it to Cheney because he would be able to defend himself by utilizing his constitutional right to the 2nd amendment. After the lady left, we drove up and the gentleman approached the car. Instinctively, I had my cell phone ready to call 911 if needed.

Cheney rolled the window down and the man asked for help. The cynical soul that resides in me immediately thought, "This is a hoax! He just wants to get close so he can jack your money and run." Instead, he proceeded to ask Cheney for help in using his card. Cheney walked him through screen by screen and he went on his merry way with his money in his pocket. Bottom Line: He was illiterate.

And me, the teacher in the car was embarassed. Embarassed because I immediately delved into a cynical mindset of how he was out to get me when in fact he needed me and my ability to read.
There was a day not too long ago where friends and strangers would stop to help people in need. That day is so far removed from our society that the students I teach aren't even aware of its existence. And even me, who was raised on the stories of the Good Samaratian forgot.

Our society breeds cynicism and selfishness- even our lawmakers put the voices of their constituents in the back of their mind to put their selfish desires first. How can we swing the pendulum back to the way things once were when my grandparents and great grandparents depended on neighbors and friends through life's adventures? In 1929, at the crash of the stockmarket, people depended on each other to survive through the Great Depression. Without the basic necessities, life comes down to relationships. Those who survived to tell the tale were those who banded together in a time of need. And they had it right.


Shonda said…
I feel the same way too sometimes. It seems like you have to watch your back. There is so much crime in my area and people are getting shot for nothing. I'm scared sometimes to go out or even be in my house. I think it's our way of trying to be safe rather than sorry. It's sad.