There is a gloom that lives here when the weather turns mean, and people either fight it like an enemy, or succumb to it, and spend an entire season in misery. I’ve never really minded it, with the exception of watching how it makes others treat… others.
The drive was short, a small reward for the cargo I was retrieving being heavy, clunky, and freezing fucking cold. Metal pipes, even stored inside a garage door, didn’t seem to warm much past the single-digit temperature outside it. I drove appropriately cautiously, considering both the unusual weather and my irregular passengers.
Driving towards an underpass, I noticed a commotion.
Cars were honking and swerving, in very tight quarters, for a reason I couldn’t quite distinguish until I got closer. Upon under-passing, I saw the obstruction:
It was a man. In a wheelchair. That had tipped over.
Leaning precariously on a small curb in the center of the bridge, clearly immobile, was a man in a wheelchair. That had tipped over.
I got that feeling that good people get when they see an animal in the road, or a person unknowingly moving towards danger. That feeling that no one likes, but that has saved many lives, and that sends the appropriate senses into immediate overdrive.
I also got that feeling that bad people get when they see worse people acting like the worst people. That feeling that no one likes, that has taken many lives, and that sends the inappropriate senses into immediate overdrive.
I put my flashers on, hustled to right the man (amidst the blare of horns), and did so accompanied by a panic and anger that I have felt many times before, and that each time I hope to never feel again.
The man squeezed my arm as he uttered a thank you, and it struck me like an unseen blow to the back. I don’t know why, exactly, but the oddity of the situation coupled with the cold reality of people’s non-reaction crushed me. I felt that palpable soul-sink that occurs in an instant, but that will last as long as it goes unreconciled.
I am positive he had tipped over before, and he made his way quickly once righted, but none of that changed the fact that he was left lying on his side, in traffic, under a fucking bridge, while people swerved around him and honked at the inconvenience.
Where. The fuck. Am I?
Nothing made me feel good about my actions, and everything made me want to smash windshields and extract the sardines.
Had I not made a semi-career out of resisting the urge to permanently injure those that mistreat others, I would have removed one of the large metal tools I was transporting and began giving the soulless bodies sneaking by something to actually honk at.
That’s not how the world turns.