Question 248 of 365: Who are the scumbags?

Walking around the streets of Chicago at night with two small children
can be a harrowing experience. At the very least, it can be an
education.

For the most part I do not buy into Stranger Danger. For the most
part, I trust those who are around me to be courteous to a fault. For
the most part, I believe that there is a certain reciprical nature the
the interactions I have on a daily basis.

When someone claims not to be a scumbag, I generally take them at
their word. When that person completely refutes that claim with their
actions, it makes me question their grasp on reality.

In a progressively louder, chant like voice a young man approached our
family and spoke “excuse me” in an aggressive tone as he crossed the
streat to meet us. Maybe we read all of the wrong cues, but we (in an
unspoken pact of young family solidarity) decided to ignore his
initial request. As it grew in volume, our suspicians were confirmed
that he was not someone who truly needed our particular ears, but
rather somone who would acknowledge him in the night, something we
were not entirely in the mood to do in a city we do not know.

Eventually, after about 10 excruciating pleas to excuse him, he
blurted out that he wanted to know where the train station was (mind
you, the train is directly above our heads). He then proceeded to
preach to us about his non-scumbag status with a few choice words
thrown in for good measure.

This was something that made us all feel dirty. When faced with a
confrontation, we stayed mum. We judged first and then assessed the
situation. We may have gotted the initial contact wrong, but I don’t
regret our lack of engagement. The world is different at night. It is
different in a forein place. And, it is most definitely different
pushing our two small children toward the hotel, trying to enjoy the
last days of summer air.

So, here is the truth:

Scumbags are those that can’t sense what is important to others.

Scumbags are those who cannot see apprehension for what it is and fend
it off with civility.

Scumbags are those who get angry about not winning in a conversation
with strangers.

Scumbags are those boys with bushy white beards, hoodies drawn over
heads, and enormous backpacks that insist on being seen as those
going for a jog around the block.

Scumbags are those who scare my children with their speach.

I do not claim to be innocent of judgement or bias, but I feel as
though I give every new connection in my life a fair chance. As it
turns out, sometimes I have all of the connections I need.

You sir, were one too many.

Posted via email from The Throughput

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