The universe sending reminders that people can be bad is just as valuable as the universe sending reminders of how good and magnanimous humans can be. Just a little heads up that life isn’t fair can go a long way. In full disclosure, I am of the belief that most people are born good but go awry as per some combination of trauma and/or spoiling. Of course, the existence of serial killers coupled with living in Los Angeles over 10 years has forced me to reexamine this stance.
We think an evil person will carry a hairless cat and have a pinky sticking out. In reality the measure of a person is how they treat people lower on the totem pole and how they act when no one’s watching. Sometimes the subtlest of gestures can give seismic insights into a person. I once knew a guy who routinely stopped with 1/2 of his car in the crosswalk at red lights. We’ve all done that but it seemed to be one of his major food groups. Had I judged him solely on that single action I would have saved myself hours of head scratching. Let’s just say a guy who gets a kick out of inconveniencing complete strangers will also hit on every girl you bring around him.
You may wonder what brought on this near maudlin state. There’s this amazing chalk drawing exhibition in Pasadena. My stomping grounds, adjacent. Of course drawings made in chalk on the ground aren’t meant to be landmarks but in a city like Los Angeles where it never rains to the tune of a 4 year long drought, it stands to reason the drawings could have a little staying power.
There are rows and rows of awesomeness. It’s inspiring that people could create such elaborate pieces using only chalk. It’s also great to see chalk being put to use. Dry erase boards have done to chalk what cell phones did to the home phone. There must be no incentive in elementary schools for children to behave anymore. Writing “I will not chew gum” 300 times on a dry erase board sounds like a breeze. Plus, you probably get a good high going after the 50th one and the punishment becomes a psychedelic reward.
Back to people sucking. I was traversing this free public art gallery one day after the drawings were done. The colors, shape and contrast just as vivid as the day before. As people traversed their lives they slowed down and traversed the chalk drawings. A fair number of people walked on top of the drawings. There was plenty of room between the drawings to walk without stepping on them but an alarming number of people either didn’t care, didn’t notice or actively tried to destroy the drawings. Like it was their sole responsibility to perpetuate LA’s reputation of being the epicenter of self centeredness. I found it disheartening that people wouldn’t take 1 step to the left or right so these inspirations could be enjoyed by all just a little longer. I use to try to figure out the why. Why would people do that? I’ll never know. Hell, they may not know themselves but what I do know is I wouldn’t want to befriend any of them. Seems harsh but think back to a disastrous friendship and if you think even harder you’ll remember that “walk on the chalk drawing” moment that you overlooked. Of course I still have shirts from my freshman year in college that I still wear (#humblebrag) so maybe I have an unhealthy fascination with preserving things.