I marvel at the inspiration that i get from looking out the office window. I’m not sure how evident it is to you, the reader, but the simplest things I see cause me to stop and think.
A UPS truck just stopped to drop off packages. The side of the truck proclaims ‘World Wide Services.’ As a global culture, we have expanded to the point that we demand quick and efficient shipping around the world. Everything just gets faster and faster.
As I look out my window, I am reminded of the man I see every Sunday or Monday morning, An older looking man, who may be homeless makes his rounds with a shopping cart and industrial garbage bags. He stops outside the fraternities that neighbor our residences and digs through their garbage. I will admit that my first reaction is “YUCK.” But then I see him pulling out a beer can, crush it and then drop it into a garbage bag. After I eat breakfast, I see him as I make my way to class. His bag is almost overflowing and he’s only just started to go through the large pile. This work, that most would avoid at all costs, is done every week as the man collects cans to recycle and probably make a little bit of money from the cans to feed him until next Monday morning. On a side note, I am glad that its getting warmer out and the frats are having their parties. This man can now eat, or at least eat more, as a result.
Many people walk by every day. I wonder what they are like, their backgrounds, how their day is going, and so much more. Occasionally I will see someone I know, but they still seem so distant beyond the glass. No one looks in windows anymore, at least thats how it seems to me. So what do the UPS truck, a homeless man picking up cans and the various people that stroll by my window have in common? Nothing it would seem. Three distinct things from different backgrounds and with different purposes. But i think that there is something that relates all of them, and all of us.
What actually connects all three things is a oxy-moron- the basic human connection. I know that sounds confusing, so I’ll try to explain. As the world grows, gets faster and more efficient, we loose touch. We want the products and services but we don’t want to go get them ourselves. We want to improve the state of our country, our city, poverty, etc., but for the most part we would rather throw money at a problem that figure out the best way, and the long term way to fix a problem. We don’t try to get to know the people that walk by our windows, and they don’t stop to say hi either. The Andy Griffith Show seems abnormal because everyone knows each other and isn’t afraid to look in windows and wave. However, in our rush to get things done, we forget that we define humanity. Things are the way we are because of us. We complain about the corruption in government, the health care situation, problems with the food we eat, the poverty in our cities. But instead of actually trying to take a part in fixing the problem we throw money at it, or worse perpetuate the cycle. We continue to use stay as disconnected as we can because it’s cheaper- both on our wallet and our time.
So what’s my point? Establish human connection. The new healthcare bill and other solutions being devised won’t accomplish anything until we take a little bit of our time and money to fix the problems ourselves. We complain about the state of the world around us, but we only have ourselves to blame. We have attempted to disconnect ourselves from problems and they just grew bigger and came back knocking louder. Instead of shipping a gift, maybe take a trip and deliver it in person. Instead of watching the man collect cans to feed himself, maybe I should join him or go buy him breakfast. Maybe when you walk by, look into my window and stop in to say ‘Hi.’