Vicarious hurt
Friday, September 26, 2008, 7:02 PM

On the way home from work tonight, I noticed a couple hanging around the corner of the book store I pass. They weren't standing together. The guy was bracing himself against the outside of the building with a hand and looking at the girl, who was facing the wall. I noticed them in my peripheral vision--I was actually getting ready to scowl and look ferocious at the pair of Greenpeace activists, Obama activists, or Whatever They Were Trying To Sell Me Today.

And then I heard the girl sniff loudly and I realized she was crying--that I was probably walking past a breakup. As soon as I thought this, my throat got a big lump and I couldn't breathe. I didn't know either of them, and I was ready to bawl good and loudly. I wanted to kick the guy for making her cry in public, especially in the busy area where this drama was taking place. Of all the weak-kneed, rotten, assholery things to do.

I don't know their story, but this is what I imagined as I passed, my head bowed and my throat too tight to say anything when I was asked if I cared about helping to save the world's energy. At that moment, all I cared about was a stranger's pain. It doesn't make it any less painful, but sometimes it's easier to identify with anyone else's pain.

5 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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