Friday, December 16, 2005

A Thin Line Between Love and Hate . . .

Given the title of my blog, you're probably hoping for a review of the mid-nineties movie classic staring Martin Lawrence. Perhaps another time. I'd have to watch if first.
But the title does convey a frustrating experience I had the other night. It's a fairly insignificant event, yet I keep coming back to it in my mind.
First, Anna and I were in St. Louis, MO for the U2 concert. The show was amazing. We sat behind the stage, but our seats were only 4 rows up. We had a great view and a great time together. Our son-to-be-born-next-month went crazy in the womb. While I'm very biased (being a fan since I was in the womb myself- (that doesn't make sense?)), they perform like, almost, no one else. Going to one of their shows is like a religious experience (I think I'd even take the simile out of that sentence). So Bono took us to a great place. We felt positive about ourselves, our neighbors, and the world. This was the love part of the evening.
So then the goal was dessert. Particularly for Anna (my goal was beer). We caught a cab to go to a dessert/bar we had read about on the internet. We chated with the driver about the show and we're feeling good. Then he got a call from a regular passenger. I decifered from the conversation that we were picking more folks up and being a mini van cab, he assured them he could take 4 more. This was cool the more the merrier. So at the pick up, five people stumble up the van, 3 women and 2 guys. The driver says its cool, 3 pile in the back and 2 in the front seat (Anna and I remained in our captain seats in the middle). Well the 3 piled in the back and one in the front and Mr. Drunky went for my seat. I said "No" and closed the door. As he piled in the front with his friend, he bagan to berade me with "You MotherF**ker" this and that. "Who do you think, you are". I was in between he and his freinds behind me with my eight months pregnant wife beside me. I was in a vulnerable position and a little frightened as we rolled down the streets of St. Louis. But I was primarily mad. Then of course came the insincere apology and the hightened abuse after not acknowledging the half hearted hand shake. (of course all the while I was filtering my cynical mind and smart ass coments) We arrived ok and ate our desert, trying to recover. This was the hate part of the evening.
Long story, yet I can't seem to get over it. Mainly for this reason, these folks had been at the concert too. How could Anna and I experience this concert of love and peace, more church then rock concert, and this guy come out and do this to somebody? But what's more, how could I so quickly move from a holy place I hadn't been in a longtime to wanting to rip a man's head off, visualizing his downfall. I at least want to ridicule him and make him feel small (the idea of me being able to hurt anyone physically given my build has honed my smart ass coment ability). I had to work very hard with Anna to not let this ruin my night.
But it's made me think of the broader world. If I can switch from love to hate over something, relatively small, how can we expect those in the world with real greviences, like the bruttal death of multiple loved ones, to not make the switch too. Bono said at the concert, "Let's not become a Monster to fight the Monster." Easy to accent to in the concert hall, more difficult in the taxi.

3 comments:

cityfrog said...

G'day James! Ken & I were able to snap up some tickets for U2's concert in Brisbane in March before they sold out. The concert is 2 weeks before our baby is due...

dwain said...

What an experience! After reading Geoff's blog about Tookie the other day (and Brad's repsonse), I couldn't stop thinking about how foundless my objection to the death penalty is. I really have no right to say that I can't justify such murder because I've never been in the position of having that power. If my family was killed, I know that my immediate reaction would be grief and rage, and I would want compensation. My rational self knows that a death for a death is asinine and futile, but humans strike me as being overwhelmingly emotional creatures, not logical, so I would demand a sacrifice. I still condemn the death penalty, but I can't condemn those immediately affected by the actions of a murderer. Those who find it in them to forgive--even embrace--epitomize all that is beautiful about the human spirit, but they're rare.

robbie turner said...

thanks james for your posting--sorry you had such an experience (at least parts of it). your story and the response posts hit home -- i have ideals, ones i criticize others for not implementing like peacemaking, forgiveness, etc., but then when i'm in a position like you and anna were, i want to knock someone's block off too. (like you, my frame usually prevents that from being a wise option. but i can be just as violent and probably more damaging with words and thoughts.) it makes me think of a statement a friend in atlanta at the open door community made: he said that if he walks outside their home, and pushes a drunk homeless guest who is bothering him, it doesn't mean he's no longer a pacifist -- it means he's a sinner. so, his struggle (and ours) continue, it seems, but always with the hope that things like the u2 concert help bring out in us.