"this is how you remind me…"

through a post from arts & letters daily i discovered this marvellous and more than slightly strange blog called killing the buddha. through them, i discovered this video:

for the charter for compassion which is rolling out or going live or unveiling or whatever they call it today. first of all it made me think of my friend douglas who probably knew about this months ago. i have to admit, i think the video is a tad bit creepy — the drum beats are a little too nouveau horror movie trailer for me but that could be just because i watch too many trailers for horror movies — but i’ve spent some time poking around the website and looking at the people they’ve worked with and, even for someone as cynical as myself, it all looks reasonably genuine and well-thought-out. and i can get on board with people who are basically arguing that if you want people to behave well towards you, maybe behaving well towards them isn’t a bad start.
i thought of this yesterday when i was sitting on a bench outside kupel’s in brookline waiting for anna to come out with bagels and cream cheese; one of the local homeless women (unless she’s a really dedicated performance artist) passed by, pushing this giant cart loaded down with what i’m guessing is all her stuff. she saw me sitting on the bench and smiled at me, so i smiled back, and she called over to ask if i had any spare change for a cup of coffee. i said i hadn’t which was true and interactions like this are why i don’t carry cash with me a lot of the time; at least this way i’m not lying. she shrugged and moved on. there was a guy standing near me waiting for his dog to finish with a nearby tree and he turned to me and asked with this expression of total horror on his face: “what did she say?” i explained what had gone on. the woman heard us talking and called out to him — very politely — to explain what she had asked me and to ask him the same question. he gave her this look of total disbelief that seemed to translate as “what is it doing talking to me!” and hurried off with his dog, muttering something that i couldn’t really hear.
and because i’m not very good at writing about this kind of thing, i can’t tell you what i thought next except that i remember thinking that the man over-reacted just a little. even if he didn’t have anything, what was the harm in telling her so — ideally nicely — to her face rather than flinching back as though she had thrown something at him?
and then, because i’m absolutely incapable of leaving a post alone without putting something silly in it — if you want a really neat-sounding explanation for why laughing at things is a good idea, the dailyom makes it sound very cool with their most recent post:

probably safe for work; it is a little risque but if you have an understanding boss or a boss with a sound sense of humor you should be fine. and you will need sound, definitely. 🙂
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