Cruelty

The way people drive in Varna makes me upset. Most cars seem to drive too fast, cutting everyone off, not stopping for pedestrians, and generally driving in a jerky, intense way that raises my blood pressure. This comes from someone who is always the passenger. I can’t imagine the headache I would get if I actually had to drive here.

For the most part, I am forgiving of this behavior. It annoys me, yes, but in the end I chalk it up to selfishness, not cruelty. People who live in cities live in little bubbles, from which they cannot stop to imagine other people have needs and desires that are equally important as theirs. Laws are meant to keep order in the city, and are obviously not meant for, “ME,” the individual. It is a complete lack of awareness and a struggle to carve a free life out in a city where people are stacked, one on top of the other, ten stories high.

Then, there are moments when I see real, inexcusable cruelty. Today one of those assholes that has too much pride in his noisy car skidded up to the sidewalk, and hovered there for a moment. On the sidewalk stood a man who obviously did not have full reasoning capabilities. He stood, staring at the silver car, not moving. Finally, the driver of the car rev’d the engine, and lurched forward towards the man, turning at the last second and screeching his brakes. The sudden movement startled Nikola and I, still 50 feet down the street, and made the man on the sidewalk jump. The guy in the car laughed and backed into his spot.

Nikola and I passed the scene, disturbed by this guy’s stupidity. Then, there was a loud bang. Being from the states, my first thought was that one of them had a gun. Nikola, being from Bulgaria, thought fire cracker. Either way, the guy who had been driving the car was shouting, gleefully, “It’s coming!” and the guy from the sidewalk was shuffling off, looking uncomfortable.

It gave me a tight feeling in my chest. It made me feel, for the first time, unsafe in my neighborhood, and I do not think it was the idea of gunshots that made me nervous, but the blatant cruelty.

On the bus ride into the city I was pensive. I don’t see blatant cruelty that often, and yet however much I do see it is still way too much.

It makes me wonder why/ how people can be so mean. Maybe people were mean to them when they were children, so they grew up thinking it was acceptable behavior. Or maybe it is just the opposite, no one was ever mean to them and so they have no ability to empathize with other people. Maybe, and most likely, they watch too many films where people relate to each other with drama and violence.

I wonder if he only does that to strangers. Is it a power thing? Is cruelty an extension of the selfishness I see everyday?

The questions had no answers, and as we got off the bus I immersed myself in enjoying the day with my son and husband. My husband, who has no cruelty in him and is kind to a fault, and my son who I hope to raise the same way. But the sickness in my stomach stayed. Oh, humanity, where are you going wrong? 

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