Us and Them.

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Right now there’s a guy in a cafeteria sitting all by himself. He’s unpacking his brown bag lunch with the same meal he eats everyday. He might look over at the table next to him. No person greets him. Not a person is excited that they’ve sat down. No person even knows them.

You’ve seen this guy or girl in every workplace or school cafeteria. They sit on the edge of a table by themselves.
What is it that these people are lacking? Why has no one brought them into their group? Is it because they are a bad person?

But even angry violent people have friends. The worst of the worst have people willing to put up with and care for them. Serial killers receive thousands of letters. Some get marriage proposals. Terrorist organizations trip over new recruits between their day-to-day bombings of the innocent. So it can’t be morality.

And it isn’t looks. The ugly find people on their level to connect to. These loners aren’t the ugly. You wouldn’t bat an eye if you saw them accepted into a group. They’d fit right in to that group of friends that they’re sitting across from.

Perhaps they’ve been offered to join a group and turned it down. They are strong enough to be alone. There is no joy in social places for them. They want the solitude and seek it. People come and go. Why care about their acceptance? There’s only one person they need to love. And that’s the only person that’ll be there with them for their entire life.

Could they have been a part of a group and then kicked out? Perhaps they are an exile from a lunch table across the hall. They’re reduced to eating by themselves.They once saw smiling faces across the table and now only strangers around them. They made a mistake and this is their punishment.

Are they mentally stunted? Can they not process the pain of social rejection? Were they born without a need for human contact? Did someone pummel it out of them? A childhood spanking gone awry? Perhaps they hit their head as a child and lost what the rest of us have?

They could smell. That could do it. The best personality in the world can’t overcome a putrid odor. Has someone told them about their problem? Perhaps they know and can’t do a thing about it. No deodorant, cologne, or soap can fight back the stench radiating from their body. So they sit there, knowing no one can stand to be within them.

Could they be an alien from another planet? They’re watching our every move and waiting to slip in. They’re leaning all our social scripts and irrational gestures. And then they’ll ask how you’re doing. You’ll be none the wiser. You’d accept them. They’ll say all the words at all the right times. They’ll come off as human like you and I.

Is it their destiny to be where they are? If there are people with friends, there must be people without friends. One cannot exist without the other. They’ve drawn the short straw in life. It’s unfair.

But if they opened their mouth to complain or beg for a chance, it’d only push us farther away from them.

There is nothing more repugnant to the human spirit than the socially desperate. They wear their emotions on their sleeves. We see them for all they are. We know what they want. And it disgusts us. It is written in our flesh and blood, right down to the bone to reject such a person.

We are not as cruel to the hungry and thirsty. We toss them our scraps and urge people to be more considerate of them. But the socially starved gain our disdain whether they’re responsible for their position or not. They ask too much of us. How can we accept them? They might as well be begging for a cancer cure.

No person is good enough to be everyone’s friend. No person good enough to look at all people and see something worthwhile. We have our favorites that we keep close.

They’re agreeable to us. They were born near us. They went to the same school as us. They share some of our same opinions. So we give them our love. We deem them worthy of our time and affection. They get to become a part of us.

There must be us and them.

Just be glad you’re not them.

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