As we hunker down to ride out COVID-19 I started thinking about isolation.
I’d been wanting to write a post about Bubble People for a while but things changed in the last two weeks.
Bubble People are those distracted people who wander around with absolutely no awareness of the world around them. I loathe them mainly cause they almost always have their eyes glued to a phone, blasting music on headphones and weaving all over the sidewalk, road or bike path. I routinely end up slamming on my brakes so that I do not run into them because they step into the path of on coming traffic without looking.
Bubble People piss me off because they do stupid shit and then seek forgiveness by saying sorry. I would rather they not do stupid stuff in the first place and then there is no reason to seek forgiveness. But bubble people live in a bubble and more often than not, they fail to see the consequences of their actions. A Non Bubble Person reacts and everyone is safe and the Damn Bubble People continue to live in blissful ignorance, stepping into traffic, blocking entrances and exits and bellowing into their cell phones on speaker phone in a public place.
And then two weeks ago I became A Bubble Person.
There are a lot of excuses I could list here, but the gist of it is that I knew something was wrong, but because I’d been struggling to get to work in under 100 minutes every day, I ignored my gut. Everything turned out okay but the situation still bothers me, over two weeks later.
I have an older neighbour, I’ll call him Sergei, he’s a little odd, mostly because he’s older and a bit of a hoarder. He grew up in a communist country in a time when shortages were the norm so hoarding is a habit. Unfortunately, hoarders are not well liked in apartment buildings because their excess stuff causes problems for staff and tenants so people resent them and aren’t friendly. I’ve spoken to him several times and made perfectly normal small talk while waiting for the elevator.
I knew something was up when I was rushing out to work early one morning and there was a smell by his apartment door. Frustrated by cancelled buses and having to stand in sub zero weather waiting, praying for a bus to arrive, I kept going but I knew something was off.
Sure enough he’d fallen or passed out by his door. His employer grew worried when he missed work for three days in a row and they called the police who did a wellness check and sure enough he was in need of assistance. He was pretty confused at first but once the paramedics got some fluids and oxygen into him he perked up and was lucid enough to argue about going to the hospital. Even though we are in the middle of a world pandemic, the hospital is the best place for him right now.
I knew something was wrong and I should have stopped, knocked on his door, called 911 and the building staff but I kept going because I didn’t want to be late for work. My work is not that important and Sergei’s life was in danger. Work would have not cared one bit if I was late or absent. I was in my bubble because it was easier.
I can’t undo what I did, or in this case, didn’t do, but I can recognize that I need to trust my gut and recognize that when I am being pushed into a bubble to pop that sucker.