When did people stop being kind to one another?
That’s the question I’ve found myself wondering most recently as we all work at returning to “life as usual.”
Ironically as I watch the cursor blink at me, I can’t help but recognize this topic seems to strike me once a year and it’s usually right about now; aka shortly before the holidays.
Most recently it crossed my mind (yet again) as my daughter and I spent a day out shopping. Excited to have a free day for the two of us to cruise some local shops her energy was pretty high in a happy, teenager kind of way. Not so over the top that she needed to be coached to relax, just the general energetic happy.
So as we perused separate corners of a local shop, I looked up to grab her attention toward an item I had found. As I did, a woman crossed her path, physically close, without even a slight acknowledgement or a simple excuse me. My guess is my expression said exactly what my daughter was thinking because as the clueless shopper continued on her way, my mini shot me a simple “seriously?” look in return.
Later driving through town we experienced more of the same, except this time the classes were behind steering wheels, operating vehicles. As conversation between us ensued I shared with her my feelings on the true PTSD of the pandemic.
The thing which concerns me the most about “the virus” are the untalked about topics. Scientifically speaking there’s a lot to cover on the topic of COVID and the aftermath of effects on the human body. Some ever so random and completely unexplainable yet as people talk about after effects many are indeed (while odd), accurate and true.
Yet little seems to be being discussed about the psychological effects on society as a whole. Oh sure, there’s been mention as well as a few stories on the post-COVID effects on teens, increase in teen suicide, as well as misbehavior. Sadly that’s about where it begins and ends.
Generally speaking the shut-in status has left many at a loss for how to do people again. Now conditioned to be in a self-centered (us or them) mindset, human kindness has been taken to task. If given some deep thought how could we not see this coming.
I mean we essentially took society as a whole, told everyone to avoid anyone you don’t live with, wear a mask and disinfect yourself with every given opportunity. Don’t get the germ! Save yourself!
And so that is exactly what the mass majority has done. In so doing they’ve somehow forgotten or even perhaps lost their human element. That side of humanity that has us stop and open the door for another, help someone struggling with groceries or even let someone go ahead of us in line.
This isn’t to say this doesn’t still exist; it just seems to be an increasing rarity rather than a commonality.
So where’s this all leading?
Well, as I stated in the opening, we’re on the heels of the holidays. What better time for a reset than during the season of Thanks and Giving. So as each of us embarks on this altered world let’s try and remember back to the “good ol’ days,” and no I’m not referring to the time when there was no limit on paper towels you could purchase and when gas was $1.98 a gallon, although both would be great to revisit.
Let’s remember that pandemic or not, we’re all in this together. What might seem simple and no big deal to you, may just be the kindness and pleasure a total stranger needs.
Now as we embark on the final days of the 2021 year, let’s work harder to return to and recommit to human kindness. After all, if we can’t rely on one another we’re doing something terrible wrong.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 209-847-3021.