It seems to me that society is becoming increasingly self-centred. Maybe it's always been that way, but I'm fed up with people imagining that the freaking world revolves around them.
It might be a cliche, but there is truth in the idea that if you stop bloody navel-gazing for a while and start to reach out to others, you'll be a happier person. You know, pay it forward and all that. It's something I've always known, even if I haven't always practised it every day of my life.
Yesterday I took myself out for a walk in the late afternoon. I hadn't visited my favourite neighbourhood spots since we got back from our holiday and having been cooped up in the house all day, I felt the need for some fresh air. I grabbed my camera and wandered up past the billabong. There were no exotic birds there worth photographing, no egrets or herons, just a few ducks. I continued on through the grassy parkland, where I spied a mob of kangaroos in the distance. Yay, thought I, here's a photo opportunity.
|Aww...I missed these guys.|
As I walked towards the roos, I disturbed a couple of Eastern Rosellas in the grass up ahead. They flew past me and perched on the side fence of a nearby house. I didn't have my telezoom lens and knew it was unlikely that I'd be able to get close enough for a decent photo, but they're so pretty... I snapped off a couple of shots before they flew away and as expected, they weren't much chop. Oh well.
|See the pretty birdies? Look; those teensy little green & red specks there...|
I turned to continue my walk and had only gone a few steps when I heard a voice calling out "Excuse me!" I turned to see a guy standing at the front corner of the house fence about 20 metres away and raised my eyebrows. "Can I ask what you were taking photos of?" he said, just a little aggressively.
My first thought was ARE YOU FREAKING SERIOUS? A number of sarcastic responses came to mind, but I just looked straight at him and said "Uh. Those birds" and waved my hand in the direction they'd taken off in. He had the grace to look a little embarrassed and just said "Oh. OK." I turned on my heel and kept walking before I could say any of the things that sprang to mind. Such as:
Mate. Don't flatter yourself. If I wanted to take photos of a house, I'd pick one more interesting than your boring, ugly, style-less beige job.
Geez. Paranoid much? (I may or may not have muttered that one as I walked away)
Really? REALLY? Do you ever step outside your front door and notice how amazing this place is? Do you even SEE the gorgeous birds, the kangaroos, the way the light changes the landscape? If I lived where you do, I'd bring a chair out here every day and just sit and soak in the beauty. Stop being so bloody self-absorbed and see the world around you once in a while.
I'm really tempted to go back there next weekend and set up my tripod and big zoom lens down by the river and aim it squarely at his house. Just to piss him off. (I won't)
Why do so many people immediately assume that everything they see or hear is about THEM? If someone was tippy-toeing around on my property with a camera, I'd go ask them what they were doing. But if I noticed somebody taking photos on public land near my house? Meh. Whatever. I'd assume there was something fabulous - like A PRETTY BIRD, for example - worth taking a photo of.
I think we all need to get out of our own heads (and our own houses) now and then or we can end up a little bit nuts. Go out and interact with actual people. Walk your dog and say hello to the folks you meet along the way. Meet your neighbours. Get involved in school or community activities, or social stuff at work.
I believe that if we expect the best from people, not the worst, then mostly, we won't be disappointed. What do you think?