We’ve heard since we were small to “love our neighbor as we would ourselves.” However, that seems to have gone out the window in this day and age. Seriously, when did we all stop caring about each other? Has kindness fallen out of fashion? When did consideration become an infringement on personal freedom? When did “the law” become more important than someone’s welfare? What happened to us as a society? How did we get to this point? Have we literally failed as human beings?
It seems to me that we’ve been seeing the decline of societal humanity for quite some time. Think about it. We’re seeing RAMPANT racism. Black men and women are being gunned down in the street for literally no reason other than the color of their skin. We’re seeing grown adults throwing toddler-like tantrums at the very IDEA of wearing a tiny piece of cloth on their face for the common good. Life-saving vaccines are being REFUSED because how DARE someone tell people they need to protect the health of others during a pandemic!
Truly, it seems like people just stopped giving a shit about each other. Even to the point we’ve stopped caring about those close by, like our neighbors.
Have We Truly Failed at Being Human?
What do I mean? Let me give you an example other than the nightly news. Last Wednesday before Thanksgiving, we were having a quiet afternoon. Then we heard the dulcet tones of screaming crotch-spawn next door. Then the music started up. To the point we could hear it IN OUR HOUSE. And on into the night they went. Now mind you all, we just spent a shitpile of money having our doors and windows double paned for noise control. Unfortunately, this doesn’t entirely muffle the thump-thump-thump of any kind of low-frequency bass. Which, as an autistic trauma survivor, eats my brain ALIVE. So as we were going to bed, my sweet husband went next door and asked them to please turn it down.
Now before I tell you what happened next, let me just say one thing. There ARE people in this world who receive an “A” in humanity in my book. On one side of us, we have young-ish neighbor. Man likes to party. Has since he moved in about 3 years ago. And during the pandemic, he had LOTS OF PARTIES. With LOTS OF LOUD MUSIC. Which reverberated through our house (prior to new doors and windows) and tore through my trauma-beaten autistic brain like a scythe.
Not to Be “That Guy” or “A Karen”, But…
But we tried not to be that guy or a Karen. We never called the cops. We barely even SAID anything until after four weekends in a row this past October. Then we finally broke down and Matthew had to go over and explain some things. Like the fact that my mom is elderly, and the fact that I’m an autistic trauma survivor with complex PTSD. And that low-frequency bass tears through our house REGARDLESS of soundproofing.
He explained how it keeps us up at night. In me, it invokes a horrifying trauma response. It makes my mom sick to her stomach. And could they please keep it down in the future. To our surprise, the dude was cool about it. I mean, why wouldn’t he be, but you never know in this day and age. But anyway, he TOTALLY understood. Which to me, wipes 3 years worth of sleepless weekends completely off the slate. So ol’ boy gets an “A” in humanity as far as I’m concerned.
Unfortunately, monkey see, monkey do. Not too long ago, the neighbor across the street decided to bump HIS stereo to the point they could hear it on the ISS. Matthew went over and asked THEM to turn it down, once again citing his wife’s PTSD. THEY turned it down. Now, it annoys me that we have to lay out my medical history so people will be considerate, but here we are. Okay fine. Did they get pissed off? Were they less understanding? Maybe. I don’t know. They’re not that friendly anyhow, so fine. At least they turned it down. Which brings me back to my neighbors on the OTHER side of me, on the night before Thanksgiving.
Not Everyone is a Shining Example of Humanity, Sadly
So, first of all, you wanna have friends over? Great. Rock on. You wanna let your kids scream like banshees in the back yard? Fine. I get it. I don’t like it, but I get it. That’s what the outside is for. You wanna play your music so loud I can hear it IN MY BEDROOM WHILE I’M TRYING TO GO TO SLEEP? NOT OKAY. So Matthew goes over there, and asks them to turn their bass down. You know, expecting them to be as understanding as our other neighbors were.
I swear to God, this is me to my neighborhood at large:
First off, they wouldn’t answer their door. So Matthew goes around to the side yard to see if he could get a hold of anyone. Sure enough our neighbor comes to fence & Matthew asks can they please turn it down. However, instead of “sure, no problem,” he hears, “BUT IT’S ONLY A SMALL SPEAKER!”
Well, y’know what? I don’t give a shit HOW small your speaker is, I CAN STILL HEAR IT IN MY HOUSE. He didn’t say that, but instead asked again if they could turn it down. Then to the fence comes their neighbor on the other side of THEM, who was over partying apparently. HE drunkenly and belligerently barks, “THE LAW SAYS WE HAVE UNTIL TEN PM” and a few other choice words.
Some Men, You Just Can’t Reach
At that point, Matthew knew it was futile because he wasn’t about to argue with a drunk asshole. So he turned around and came home. Of course, they continued until MIDNIGHT. Because fuck us, I guess. And for all they knew, we had to get up at 3 AM to drive someplace for the holiday. But did that matter? Of course not. They were gonna do whatever THEY wanted.
I couldn’t sleep. MY HUSBAND couldn’t sleep. And OUR holiday was damn near ruined. By the way? For anyone interested, the ACTUAL municipal code for a residential area in Bakersfield (check your zoning) states you can have “human speech and music” from 9 AM until 6 PM. And if you don’t believe me, you can look it up just like we did.
An Example of a Failed Human Being in 3…2…
So I’ve been pissed off about this SINCE then. And I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why this bothered me so badly. Then, this morning, it hit me. Being autistic, I have a VERY strong sense of justice. Matter of fact, this is one of the HALLMARKS of autism. Allow this article from The British Psychological Society to explain further:
And actually one of the most common features of autistic people is that they have an innate sense of justice – they can’t stand to see injustice around them, even if it’s not directed at them.Christian Jarrett, Autism – Myth and Reality
Which is why it makes sense that I’m so INCREDIBLY outraged about what I see on the news every day. And when injustice lives next door (or a few doors down), it’s even worse! Finally, like I said, it dawned on me this morning.
SOMEONE HAS LITERALLY FAILED AS A HUMAN BEING WHEN THEY CARE MORE ABOUT WHAT “THE LAW” SAYS THAN THEY DO ABOUT COURTESY AND BASIC HUMAN DECENCY.
And THAT eats my sense of justice ALIVE.
Congratulations! You have FAILED Humanity 101
I mean seriously, WHAT kind of asshole KNOWINGLY keeps an elderly person or ESPECIALLY A PERSON WITH COMPLEX PTSD awake? What kind of piece of shit ENABLES A TRAUMA RESPONSE and/or a PANIC ATTACK with what they’re doing because they think they’re within “THE LAW”? ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS RIGHT NOW? First of all? We didn’t ask you to turn your music OFF. We asked you to PLEASE TURN IT DOWN SO YOUR BASS ISN’T SLAMMING THROUGH OUR HOUSE WHILE WE’RE TRYING TO SLEEP.
It’s a simple request, no?
Oh, and if you’re getting noise complaints? Maybe stop doing the thing people are complaining about. I mean, all WE did is come over and ask. But if others are ALSO complaining? Like to the city and/or county? MAYBE, just MAYBE, someone’s trying to tell you something.
LIKE NOT TO BE A FUCKING ASSHOLE AT A TIME WHEN PEOPLE CAN’T ESCAPE THEIR HOMES AND SHOULDN’T HAVE TO BECAUSE OF A SAD, INSECURE FORTY YEAR OLD BITCH-BOY WHOSE MOMMY OWNS EVERYTHING, AND WHOSE WIFE MAKES 3 TIMES WHAT HE DOES SO HE HAS TO THROW HIS WEIGHT AROUND SO HE CAN FEEL GOOD ABOUT HIS PATHETIC LITTLE LIFE AS AN IMAGINED NEIGHBORHOOD KINGPIN.
What an absolute shining example of humanity.
But I digress.
Is A Failed Human Being Who You Want To Be?
And it’s the same thing with people screaming about THEIR PERSONAL FREEDOMS or WHAT THE LAW SAYS when asked to wear a mask to protect the health of others. Or NOT murder PEOPLE OF COLOR IN BROAD DAYLIGHT. GOD FORBID we ask for gun control or to end white supremacy.
HEAVEN forbid we ask the general public to get vaccinated DURING A DEADLY PANDEMIC.
And I guess on that same list is giving a shit about a neighbor’s comfort.
Just as an aside, I mean, I know the world is getting louder. And you all know how I wish a quiet place really existed. But what I ALSO know is that when I was a kid, and I was loud, my parents were quick to shush me. “We have neighbors,” they’d scold me. But apparently that thought process is a thing of the past. And with everything else that’s going on in the world, I know asking folks to be just a little bit quieter is SUCH a little thing. However, that little thing is not only the straw that broke THIS camel’s back, but also begs the question – have we truly failed each other as human beings?
What do you think? HAVE we failed as human beings?
At least some of us? Have we really become so selfish and self-centered that it’s just too much trouble to inconvenience OURSELVES just a little bit for the betterment of ALL? Have we really failed humanity and society as a whole? Is THIS really who we are now?
I sure hope not, but it’s looking that way. And that makes me both sad and angry.
So that said, and given that the season of goodwill is upon us, what can we do as individuals to start raising our failing grade in Human Being 101? How can we be better? Do we even want to be? I know I do. And I hope you do too.
In fact (given the time of year), for those out there who call themselves “Christians” but rail against simple acts of courtesy and decency towards their fellow human beings, please remember this:
And the King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.’Jesus Christ, New Testament, Matthew 25:40
Even so much as turning down your music so that your neighbor can get a peaceful night’s rest counts. And please be a decent human going forward. It really doesn’t take much. Let’s STOP failing each other as human beings. We’re better than this…aren’t we?
Thanks for reading,