As I sat comfortably at a table in my local Starbucks, an urge to clench my backpack suddenly bolted through me. It was an ironic reaction - especially for a person like myself who openly trusts others. The occurrence incited a weird pang of suspicion in my own self.
Moments before arriving to the coffee shop, I strolled past a few teenagers lingering by an apartment building doing - God knows what. I actually felt sincere amusement at the sight of such a youthful gang. Teenage years, after all, are meant for a little mischief - so, I smiled and made my way across the street to get a good vantage point of the action.
As they bantered amongst themselves, a few floors above, an old lady opened up her window, and stared at them with caution. From a distance, the scene was a strange dichotomy of mistrust, and innocence. By the time I got to Starbucks, some of her suspicion must have inadvertently rubbed off on me - for I found myself - even if for a slight second - exhibiting parallel behavior.
When I came home from work last night, the door I almost always leave unlocked - had to now be locked. My boss told me an awful story about him and his girlfriend being robbed in Brooklyn last week. The burglar had apparently walked into the living room, where he was sleeping at the time - and stole a great deal of both their belongings. Another co-worker chimed in with a story about her - wallet getting stolen while pulling out a dollar for a stranger.
All of these various impressions must have swirled inside my subconscious as I took a seat at Starbucks. I was on guard - and there wasn’t even anything of value in my bag.
The truth is, there are bad things that happen all over the world - all the time. You can spend a day reading about crime statistics and allowing that, to spoil your view of humanity. That’s very easy to do. But your attitude - your refusal to buy into that model of thinking - is what enables for a more independent, and hygienic perspective of the world.
To see the worst, or to see the best in things. That’s ultimately your decision. Let me tell you, in the life of every burglar, or delinquent, was an adult who stared at them with mistrust - as that lady was at those teenagers. It’s through that lack of faith, that all wrongdoing proliferates. Taking that into consideration, you can see how your predisposition is an integral part of every life. Your view of the world is what determines the outcome of all future events. Everything is contingent on your outlook. And if your suspicion is hampering the productivity of the rest of the world, then what’s your contribution?
I gently let go of my backpack, and continued to work absentmindedly.
(Originally published 12/19/18)