Blinders of Compassion

“Nikky Vision”

I’ll admit it: I can sometimes get too involved with work and my own life that I can forget that I’m not just one person in this world, but a being living in a collective establishment known as a city. And not just any city, but a population center in world-class city.

When this happens, I get something I call “Nikky Vision,” which is almost self-descriptive in nature. Everything else–societal ills, class warfare, and confused politics–all blend in the background as only what I want to view comes into the forefront.

Two things today forced me back into reality.

Lament of the Subway Employee

Making my weekly visit to Subway in the U-District today, a converstation between the customer and the employee behind me struck a cord. It was as resonating as it is simple. After they went through a few pleasantries:

Sandwich Orderer: “So do you go to school?”

Employee, with a hint of sadness: “I wish I could.”

And that, my friends, is basically all that’s wrong with our society. Where we are incapable of sending willing and able young adults to college. And instead we waste their talents and enthusiasm making sandwiches for those lucky enough to be able to go to school. Disgusting.

Encounter on the 49

On the way home from work I usually get on one of the first stops of route 49, so I’m almost guaranteed a window seat where I’m perfectly content with staring out the passing cityscape as I try to empty my mind of terminals and web publishing.

Instead of looking out the window, today I was dinking around on my tablet with a new magazine application. After settling on reading a blog about video games, I noticed that someone got on next to me. I don’t know how or why it struck me, but I sensed that they were someone who was down on their luck and was around my parent’s age. As they glanced at me, reading about gaming, I suddenly felt a overwhelming sense of guilt and shame.

I give as much as I can to a multitude of local charities that all do exceptional work, but I felt like no matter how much I did and supported, things could never be perfect. There would always be suffering and many very well-meaning and nice people are worse off than me. And there’s nothing I can do about it. That’s a sobering concept, and a tough one to swallow.

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