Wednesday, April 06, 2005

hexagram 5: waiting (nourishment)

...waiting is over. A time of danger. But people come. Their purpose ill defined but if accepted in good spirit all will be well... no more time to wait.

So this guy is delivering Chinese take-out to various addresses in the Bronx, and he never comes back to the restaurant. His employers are concerned: he doesn't speak much English, and they were worried he might have run afoul of immigrant smugglers. New York's Finest drop by and canvass the neighborhood, even checking a nearby reservoir. They never find the guy.

Three days later someone decides to figure out why the elevator isn't working, and there he is, dazed and dehydrated. They immediately call the cops... they can't understand what he's saying, so he must be drunk, come take him away. I can just see the boys in blue choke on their donuts when they recognize him.

Now there's a big finger-pointing clusterfuck going on: did the cops not do their jobs right? What about the security guards? Is it Bloomberg's fault? What about the striking elevator workers? Can we still blame the Clintons, or is that starting to get a little too trendy?

This actually caught my eye because there's been a recurring theme in conversations I've been in over the past few days, about how to respond appropriately when something bad happens, and how (if possible) to prevent bad things from happening in the first place, which I think is like fighting the ocean back with swords... but that doesn't keep America, in its fear, from trying.

When did we decide that if something went wrong, it must be someone(else)'s fault? When did we decide that life was (or should be) safe? It's not an idle question - you can slip in the shower and die, you can look the wrong way crossing the street, any one of a million things could mess you up. Do we really believe that in every case someone must be held responsible? Do we believe that any time something bad happens, we should make a new law/ban/branch of government to prevent it?

Because you can't prevent it. You can choke to death on your fucking corn flakes. Or you can fall in a hole, like Chen the Chinese take-out guy. You can live your life as best you can, or you can spend your life pointing the finger at everything in the world that could possibly harm you. It seems like the choice is (or should be) obvious. When did we start believing everything must always be safe?