I arrived at Newark airport. The air is tepid. The weather has changed since I have been here last in December. Surprise. Either way, I found the warm air to be a bit discomforting. I, in general, do not like warm weather. I find summer, however, to be tolerable. It is just the lukewarm weather that brings me discomfort. It is tepid. And, God, do I hate tepid things.
There was a lady at the customs checkpoint constantly nagging to the security guard for almost no reason. At the start, she was complaining how the security guard did not tell her to pull out her passport. Then, she was complaining about how the security guard told her to switch lines. I suppose it is not an American thing per se, but it is definitely one of those entitled people things that I haven’t seen in quite a while. There was nothing particular about the lady who was complaining. She had graying hair. But, from her tone of complaining voice, it was just so indicative that she has never ever worked a service job in her entire life.
I found it to be quite repulsive, to be honest. But, then again, she did not commit any moral wrongdoing. But, just the level of entitlement was just something that I had become newly exotic to me once more. It reminds me of my attitudes towards baseless privilege that I have forgotten this past semester. I eagerly await the day where I could return to my job at the Quadrangle front desk, where I could continue to challenge those who act with entitlement without ever fear of being fired. This is my privilege, and I look forwards in utilizing my own privilege to challenge privilege.
When I got back, the first thing on my checklist was to make a call to my parents. I do not have a data plan yet, so I asked the nearest person I could find if I could borrow their phone. The first lady I asked did not speak English, so I just thanked her and move on. Or, at least, if she did speak English, she did not want to lend me her phone, so I did not want to press her either way. The second person I asked was a man wearing a Yankee baseball cap. I forgot what clothing he was wearing. He was mindlessly scrolling through his phone. When I asked him, he briefly made eye contact and shook his head.
A bit shocked, I tried to clarify the situation, “Wait. So, you’re saying that you’re not going to lend me your phone so I could contact my parents?”
He replied, “No.”
To be honest, it was a moment that jarred me. It probably shouldn’t jar me because it’s definitely within expectations of human behavior. It is not that he did anything morally wrong per se; it is just that in my entire history of asking to borrow people’s phones, I have never ever received a straight up rejection. It is one of those instances similar to how I conceptualize a homeless person asking for money. The motivation is that I do not want to give to the homeless person, but the way it manifests is through an excuse such as, “Sorry, I don’t have any change.” Never does one ever go, “No, I don’t want to give you money.”
I suppose I wasn’t used to hearing such honesty in a long time, but it is more of an asshole-y variety of honesty. It is not honesty with a positive connotation. Perhaps I have been living an existence that has been too sheltered from the indifference of humanity for too longer. After all, I had spent In reflection, the Brexit negotiations were happening while I had been in the UK. I did not care before I had arrived in the UK when I had been still applying for my study abroad program. I did not care while I had been in the UK while I would have been affected by a result. I certainty do not care now that I am out of it.
Perhaps it is a me problem. The indifference.