Random Blog A Musing Farf

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

IT IS NORMAL TO BE SELFISH, I HOPE.

A plane crashed into a building in Manhattan today. According to news stories, one person is confirmed dead (maybe the pilot?) and there is no evidence to tell whether it was an accident (that is my guess) or terrorism. Last night, within a couple blocks from my apartment, two people were killed after being struck by two separate vehicles approximately a block from each other. My first thought to all these tragedies was the same: This could be a major inconvenience for me.

I know it is selfish and I would be lying to say that the sight of a dead body under a flimsy white sheet did not make me a little sick, but that was after I grumbled about having to get out of the taxi because the streets were blocked. And while I feel horrible for whomever lives (lived?) in the apartments now raging with fire from a place crash, I also really hope it does not affect my commute to Shea Stadium tonight. And a plane crash less than two blocks from the neurologist’s office means he won’t call me back today.

People who know me will generally tell you that I am empathetic to the plights of others. I try everyday to help make the world a better place and happily donate time and money to those less fortunate than me, but when real tragedy occurs, my first thought is how it will impinge on my life.

Even on September 11, 2001. I was at the World Trade Center site, I saw bodies falling out the windows and I was covered in hot debris, and yet, once I was safe, my only concern was how to get home from Brooklyn. Until I was safely back in my apartment, I did not think of the people who had been killed or stop to think if I knew any of them.

This isn’t even self-preservation. I can’t fault myself for running away from a burning building instead of into it. I do not want to die. But the plane crash and traffic accidents are not about survival, they are about the minor annoyances that life sometimes throws your way. I should be concerned about the burning building and I should feel awful the two people were killed in my neighborhood. A better person would…I think.

But maybe not. Maybe it is natural to think first about how things will affect you directly. After 9/11/01, I remember that Slate (or was it Salon? I can’t remember) published people’s real first thoughts upon hearing about the terrorist attacks. I was not so different. People were aggravated that this would mess up their child care plans or that a meeting for which they had spent all night preparing would be cancelled. There was even one person (I swear, if I remember where I read this I will link to it) that was, for a moment, gleeful because they were illegally parked and figured there was no way they would get towed.

So, while I can’t stop my selfish thoughts, I will acknowledge them for what they are and try to not speak them aloud. But I really hope there is no traffic tonight…

2 comments:

new mom said...

Sorry for you that THE GAME was postponed.

brother said...

lucky for you you didn't post this after it was found out to be cory lidle.