Growing Wiser or Protective?

An interesting issue came up this morning. I was walking to the bus stop at 6am. Normally, there’s no one at the stop that early, but this morning there was a crowd of about 3-4 people at the stop. It wasn’t a quiet crowd. They seemed to be shouting, and I heard a woman’s voice as one of the shouters. I got a glimpse of them, while I didn’t see any physical contact with the people, they were extremely animated.

Because I heard the woman, I thought about going to the group to investigate, but I quickly halted. I didn’t know what I was going to get into. Were they drunk and fighting? Was my being there going to get the group agitated? Could I possibly get into an altercation?

It took me a few moments, but I decided to avoid everything and walk to another bus stop down the street. Part of me was angry that I had to go to another stop, but I was equally disappointed that I didn’t do anything because of the shouting by the woman. I didn’t want to get involved, and that really disappointed me.

A few years ago, I want to think I would have ventured to the bus stop and would have figured out if the woman was in trouble. Now, I see myself as older, a little slower and not so willing to protect or stand up for someone in distress. I have been thinking I’m not sure if my trepidation is a sign of reasonable caution or an indication of not caring and keeping to myself.

When I caught my bus, the route took me to my usual stop. It turns out the crowd turned to eight people, not counting the usual two people who are at the stop. They were a motley, disheveled group of people who reeked of urine and alcohol. I have to assume the shouting I heard earlier was alcohol fueled bravado. I felt sorry for the two regulars that I normally see at the bus stop who had to endure the group of people, but by the same token I was relieved I didn’t have to spend time with them.

I have mixed emotions about what I did. Ironically, the feelings I’m struggling with now is something mirrored in the new Black Lightning TV show. This might be a reason why I relate to the storyline so much. In my younger days, I was less of an insular person. I would speak up for things. I had opinions and would respectfully defend them. I would try to get others involved, trying to rally them to a cause I felt strongly about. I want to say it’s been the past five years, but I suspect it has been longer, but I’ve been more protective of the routine I have. I haven’t wanted to stick my neck out for the other guy. I feel like I’m a rebel with a pause; wanting to stay in the background, keep my head down and not make waves. I feel like I’ve been domesticated.

Maybe because I’m older, the ramifications of what I can lose has made me protective of the little I do have. In some ways, especially in this political climate, I don’t see the reason fighting anymore because the struggle seems incredibly large. I fought in the Reagan years, fought in the Bush years, but this new administration, I don’t know. It’s demoralizing to think that all the battles and injustices I’ve seen and fought against seem to be for nothing. I would have thought others would take up the mantle, and this is where I’m going to sound like a grumpy old man, but these young kids today think that a Like post on Facebook or Instagram is a blow against the Man. Going to the keyboard or hitting the streets in protest takes effort. A click of a Like button is nothing.

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