Odd Occurrences and Conflicts

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Had an odd incident over the weekend.  One of our tenants accidentally dropped his house keys down the crack in the elevator floor.  The keys fell into the elevator shaft.  And he cursed me out when I asked him what happened.  This was an elderly tenant who doesn’t believe in things like mental illness or even disability insurance.  I was taken aback at first by the viciousness of this tenant.  But I stayed clam and didn’t respond to his verbal attack.  I’m glad that I didn’t yell back at him.  But I do wonder why he was mad at me for his gaffe.

Over the years, whether at work, school, or in public, the vast majority of the verbal abuse and threats I have received have been from people over fifty years old.  I never could understand why elder people hate younger people.  Yeah I’m getting older myself and having unexplainable aches and pains.  But I refuse, flat out refuse, to take out my problems on young people or anybody else for that matter.  I don’t understand people in general, but I especially don’t understand elderly people or people in places of authority.  From what I have seen, it seems the older a person gets, the less empathy they have and the more impatient they become.

When I was working retail and fast food, the vast majority of the verbal abuse I got for not working fast enough came from elderly people.  Sure I met some really cool elderly people who treated me well.  But I just don’t understand why some people become mean and uncaring when they become older.  I mean, older people are more apt to be serious about religion than younger people.  Common sense would say those people would be more forgiving, loving, and charitable.  Not always the case.  I for one will not pull the same abuse on young people like what was pulled on me.  I refuse to complain about how they dress.  I refuse to complain about their music or movies or media.  I’ve had my elders complain about me and my peers since I was in grade school.  As if nine year olds are responsible for my country having such low test scores compared to most other developed countries.  I just want to show more compassion and understanding to all people, younger and older alike, than what has been shown to me over the years.  Humans must be the only species on the planet that actively seek to sabotage their offspring.

I just get tired of all the arguing and fighting all the time.  I just want to live in peace with everyone as much as possible.  I’m tired of always feeling like I have to look over my shoulder and be on guard at all times.  Civilized people aren’t supposed look for arguments or fights.  But that isn’t what I’ve seen for a long time.

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Why I Don’t Trust Authority Figures

Had a good chat with my landlady and the head maintenance man today.  I’ll probably get new blinds and new carpet in my apartment within a few weeks.  After looking over my carpet and blinds she acted quite astonished that I hadn’t been complaining about these problems for years.  The carpet in my apartment is well over twenty years old and I haven’t had good blinds on my windows since I moved in ten years ago.  The carpet has been getting worn and even tearing at the seams for five years.  Yet I never complained to her or any of my previous land lords about maintenance issues.  I never complained about any issues in my apartment because it has been my experience ever since early childhood that no one was going to take my complaints seriously.  Nothing ever changed when I voiced displeasure.  Not only did almost no one take my problems seriously, some people flat out stated I brought my problems on myself or they weren’t even problems at all.  I am used to my elders and leaders not helping me, especially when I have legitimate complaints.  That is why I don’t talk about my problems until they become major crises.

My entire life no one took me or my problems seriously.  No one cared when I was getting bullied at school, not my teachers, not my family, not my classmates, and sometimes not even my friends.  No one cared when I was fired from my McDonald’s job at age seventeen for overcooking maybe $10 worth of hamburgers on a grill.  No one cared for the first three years of my mental illness that I was having problems that wasn’t normal teenage angst.  No one cared when I couldn’t find a decent job immediately after college, let alone acknowledged the fact that many college graduates weren’t finding the decent jobs we were told a college degree would lead to. So forgive me for not voicing my complaints and trusting authority sooner.

Not only were my problems not taking seriously by my elders, my teachers, my bosses, and my landlords, most of the problems of people in my age bracket and younger weren’t taken seriously either.  The elder generations apparently don’t care that their kids have greater college debts than what most of them ever owed on their houses.  Most of my elders complain about their kids not being responsible for not marrying at age twenty two or not having a fifty grand a year job right out of college.  Yet my elders’ parents were complaining about how immature they were during the 1960s when they were doing drugs, burning draft cards,starting riots on college campuses, and doing free love. You may have forgotten your history but I, and millions of people in my age bracket and younger, have not. And I guarantee the “greatest generation” had their detractors in their parents’ generation.  Tragically, people in my generation are already complaining about their kids.  So it goes…….

It’s like once you hit a certain age, maybe late 30s or early 40s, get a few gray hairs, a little authority, a little hard of hearing, and a bit of a pot belly, you magically forget the problems you went through in your teens and twenties trying to get established and how your elders were usually critics and detractors.  Most of the encouragement I ever got was from people in my age bracket, not my elders.  I can count on less than two hands the teachers I had in thirteen years of public school who were encouraging and not indifferent.  My elders have the guts to think my generation and our children’s generation should be happy to fund their social security without doing any kind of overhaul to the system to make it more feasible and sustainable.  Social Security, as it’s run now, is a giant pyramid scheme.  It works well as long as enough tax revenue is coming in to keep the system running.  But with fewer people working to keep the system going, problems will come unless we do some restructuring.  We might have to increase corporate taxes to fund social security.  We may have to legalize street drugs and prostitution and tax those to fund the system.  We may have to raise the minimum age for social security.  We may have to do all of these and more.  What we are doing now is starting to no longer work.  And no one seems interested in seriously changing anything.

People wonder why I don’t complain.  I do complain, just not to anyone in any kind of authority.  I don’t complain to anyone in authority because until very recently no one took my problems seriously.  So do forgive me if I have an unhealthy distrust of my elders and anyone with any kind of authority.

A Wedding For A College Buddy and Ramblings on Getting Older

Starting on Thursday, I’m going on an out of state road trip for my best friend from college Matt’s wedding.  I’m happy for him as he’s in his late 30s and one of these guys I figured would be fine about not marrying.  He didn’t date at all in college for the three years we were in school together.  I was the one who was trying to get dates.  We pretty much spent our time in college playing strategy games, having all night marathons of discussing history, politics, philosophy, sports statistics, economics, spending our Saturday afternoons watching college football games from practically noon to midnight, and going to the all night diner near Interstate 80 for the 99 cent bottomless cup of coffee and greasy chicken fried steaks.  These were the kind of steaks you could hear your arteries clogging after a few bites.  Matt also got me started on my coffee addiction.  We weren’t drinking Starbucks or anything trendy.  He started me on his ‘cowboy coffee’ that if it were any stronger we’d be spitting out the grinds between swallows.  His was the kind of coffee that after a couple cups, you wouldn’t need to sleep for a couple days.   Since neither of us were much for drinking, we didn’t have times good enough that we can’t remember anything.

He’s now in his late 30s and I just turned 35.  It actually isn’t bad being older.  As I’ve gotten older I realize I don’t have to put up with other people’s garbage if they are disrespectful and their disrespect isn’t a reflection on me.  Surprisingly I do not find myself complaining about the “lazy kids” at all.  I often complained about the ignorance and foolish actions of my peers while in high school and college, wondering when my peers would actually grow up and “act like adults.”  But as I’ve gotten older I’ve seen that maturity and age do not always accompany each other.  I’ve seen teenagers who are wise enough they could be in their thirties and I’ve seen people in their seventies gossip and argue like they were still in grade school.

After awhile I came to see we humans really do concern ourselves over trivial nonsense that doesn’t matter at all.  Case in point is the old men who complain about how disrespectful and lazy kids are in 2015 while forgetting that when they were kids in 1955 the old men in 1955 had the same complaints about them.  And I also heard about good the ‘old days’ were and how the world is now heading to hell in a hand basket.  But the old days were never trouble free any more than modern times.  Mayberry may have been peaceful looking on ‘The Andy Griffith Show’, but they never aired the scene with Opie doing ‘Duck and Cover’ drills in school.  And in real life Floyd the Barber may have had a ‘whites only’ sign in his barber shop, especially in the South.  Or go back to the late 1800s with the ‘Irish Catholics Need Not Apply’ signs in businesses.  I could go on but you get the picture.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve seen patterns from history play out more than once just in my lifetime. People complained about kids playing the old Nintendo systems while ignoring how we spent time outdoors too in the 1980s.  Today, people complain about kids playing Xbox while ignoring how they spend time outdoors too.  The Cold War was keeping people busy with fear as movies like Red Dawn (the Patrick Swayze version) and The Day After were big in the 1980s.  Now ISIS and other terrorist groups are keeping people busy with fear as movies like American Sniper are big in the 2010s.  Gotta keep the pot stirred up I suppose.   LGBT freedoms is a social issue now but who knows what it could be 30 to 40 years from now, freedoms and civil rights for AI machines or genetically modified humans?  Could it be in the far future when we colonize the Moon and Mars, could those two places argue for independence from Earth?  I can picture a futuristic version of a ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ flag being flown in a Martian dust storm.  Humanity has been heading to hell in a hand basket long before we had idea of hell or hand baskets.  Yet we still haven’t gotten there.  And some will  continue to nostalgically believe things were better in bygone eras.  Nope, things are in flux enough that the only real constant in our lives is change.  To quote the great philosopher Gomer Pyle, “Surprise, surprise.”