By Robert A. Vella
Most people realize that society is plagued with numerous and disturbing problems. Most people also understand that our various systems of governance are largely failing to resolve these problems or to even address them. Fewer people, although still quite many, believe that this lack of response poses a serious threat to the continuance of human civilization as we have known it.
What do we do? Some of us engage in political and social activism. Some of us try to better inform the public using mediums such as journalism, social media, and comedic entertainment. Some of us focus on raising cultural awareness through artful, philosophical, or spiritual expression. But, most of us do little or nothing.
It is this last point which I will elaborate on by sharing a personal anecdote. Sometimes, a casual conversation can reveal more about us than we care to know. The names have been changed to protect the innocent as well as the guilty.
* * * * *
Today was a beautiful spring morning at my residential apartment complex. The sun, rising above the eastern horizon, was breaking up and melting away the opaque grey overcast. Children were beginning to scurry about in play while a large black house-cat happily chased flying insects through the green grass. Marcus was taking out his garbage. Bill stopped to say hi as he returned from a coffee run. Mack was getting his fishing gear ready for a day at the lake. Linda was watering her plants on the balcony. Ted was just pulling in to his carport from an errand. Lonny was observing the activity from the second-story perch near his front door.
Marcus, Bill, and Mack were discussing bedroom furniture, sleeping positions, ailments of the lumbar region, and exaggerated fishing stories when Ted strolled by.
Ted: “Are you guys bullshitting again?” he teased.
Bill: “What else is there to talk about?”
Nervous laughter was followed by a prolonged silence.
Marcus: “That was a good one, Bill.”
Everyone knew what Bill meant, but no one wanted to have any sort of serious conversation. Today was a day for frivolity and good cheer. Meanwhile, Rebecca sternly ordered her cat back into the house and Lonny was obviously worried about losing his disability benefits in an upcoming court case. Soon after, doors were heard closing as the bright blue sky faded above advancing dark clouds.