fear of:

ossification. when I stand back, sometimes I see my reaction to life has become a bit narrower than I’d imagined it was; that I’ve allowed myself to be seduced, at least a little bit, by tribal forces. The allure of mean girls is just so weird. Sometimes resisting this force seems to be harder than it had been before.

5:30 this morning I was walking my dog, and there’s this marginal kind of homeless guy pressed against a wall of my building being interrogated by the police. I was familiar with this guy. We’d spoken last week in the elegant lobby of this building where I live. He was sitting in the library section, and had busied himself with cataloguing all the bits of paper in his wallet. He was sitting on a lush couch, and when I passed by he looked up and nodded, saying hello.

No more than two minutes of conversation , and it was clear he probably had some serious emotional problems, and that his time in this lobby/library was drawing short: there are surveillance cameras everywhere. I wished him well and moved on.

So when I saw him being questioned this morning, he recognized me and waved. He was so far away, that I didn’t recognize him immediately, so I went to see who this guy was, and sure enough it was the lobby guy.

As soon as I entered the two spheres of influence, 1) the cops, and 2) the homeless guy, my evolved sensibilities clunked into first gear, creating a workable context where I might plausibly fit in, which was just kind of a series of if/then propositions.

If I weigh in in favor of this guy to the police, I would fit into their agenda in a certain way.

If I gravitate toward collaboration, I could pretend to know nothing about this guy and encourage the police to arrest him and cut his balls off.

Door Number Three: I could practice noblesse oblige: I could nod to the guy, listen to his tale of woe for a minimum amount of time, encourage my dog to piss/shit, acknowledge the presence of law enforcement, and move back up the block.

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