Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chivalry: What's With all the Baggage?

Hi Bloggers,

Today's topic is on the notion of the loss of chivalry, and my bruised back. Let me explain:

While in college I met this girl who became one of my best friends through a Bible study. During our last year of college, she decided to go on staff with the organization that ran that Bible study, and today she's leaving to do missionary work in Africa for two years.
Well, for the past two weekends, I have been traveling to Chicago to see her (say goodbye, go to her going away parties and what-not).
Well, last weekend I go to catch the bus that I normally do that takes me to Chicago. This bus system is EXTREMELY cheap, due to the fact that sometimes you have to load your own stuff on the bus. I was going to be in Chicago for three days, so NATURALLY I had to have the LARGEST suitcase my family had to hold my three outfits, three sets of pajamas, and so on. While lifting my extremely heavy suitcase (and secretly cursing myself for not being a more efficient packer) I felt this hard blow to the right side of my lower back. I yelled, and dropped my suitcase. I looked to see what hit me, and it was a man (who just apparently got off of work at a hotel, because he was still wearing his uniform). He looked at me, threw his suitcase on the bus, looked at me again, did not once apologize for hitting me, or offered to help put my suitcase back on the bus, and he just jumped on the bus.
Just the lack of disrespect stunned me. Not only did this guy injury me, but he couldn't even help me afterwards? At least offer a mea culpa... anything?! No, he just bounced (literally bounced, as if he was happy to be one of the first people on the bus) and got his seat.
The pain subdued, until I went to bed at my friend's house that night. While I slept sharp pains came shooting in my back anytime I moved, and it was (literally) painful realization that chivalry might ACTUALLY be dead.

But I cannot put all the blame on men, because when I caught the bus to travel back home, I was not better than he was. My bus was 45 minutes late, and I was waiting in the rain for it to come. The bus comes, and with the constant throbbing pain of my back, I began to feel jaded. The bus comes and I immediately get overcame with a feeling of Social Darwinism and "every person for themselves." My suitcase is one of the first ones on the bus, and I stand in line to get my seat. I look back triumphantly at the people I jumped in front of, and saw a group of three elderly women looking BEWILDERED at how animalistic everyone was acting. No one offered to help them, no one said: "Hey, let's let these three women get their suitcases on the bus first and get their seats first."
I began to feel truly bad at my behavior, but obviously not bad enough to relinquish my spot in line to get on the bus and help the women.

Now, my questions to all of you (and feel free to comment with your own stories or thoughts on my horrible behavior) is: "Has our society really come to this? Has our drive to "one-up" the person next to us caused us to forget our own common decency?"

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