Lately I’ve been rather contemplative –must be the birthday thing bringing about philosophical indulgence. Recently, passing through the hills into Southern California’s upper atmosphere, I found myself at the Griffith Park observatory. For those in different parts of the Union, this is where L.A. people see stars that don’t make sex tapes or make absurd racist remarks or visit rehab centers every other week in hopes of convincing judges that their Friday night coke binges are just the result of over-involved parents and the sort of peer pressure that comes from making $20 million dollars for thirty days work and “please for the love of God don’t make me remove the Louis Vitton bag from my arm and force me to replace it with an orange suit – because I look like shit in orange.” No, these stars are celestial.
Beneath giant telescopes and Newton’s statue and enough scientific terminology to make Einstein blush, one can’t help but ponder the profundity of our circumstance. Which brings me to my point.
We’re pretty damn small our here on this third rock from the sun, and yet, there I was, amongst the car fumes, incessant chattering, unashamed littering, and the anti-human being bustle that allows aggressive people to unremorsefully shove their way to the front of lines, and all I could think was How the hell can we be so damn small and so thoroughly irritating? I saw three tons of tank-topped woman smacking her child, witnessed a three-point turn that resembled rams fighting, watched a grown man engage in an ear cleaning as he went to town on his chicken marsala, and stood in judgment of a contest between two adolescents who were engaged in a who can make the loudest and most infuriating sound in public competition.
Look, I get it. We can’t all be conscious that we’re part of a greater society and that a little decorum might be the difference between brightening someone’s day and sending them home weeping for humanity. But there are seven billion of us now, and even though we barely make up a bumper ding in this here thing we call a universe, perhaps we can put in a little more effort to give a shit about our fellow planet-mates. Am I off base?