Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I Just Don't Care

A customer/friend brought his bike into the shop earlier today.  There were issues with the rear wheel and the bottom bracket.  As I addressed both of them on the repair stand, we talked.   At some point the upcoming gubernatorial election here in Maine popped up.  Actually I brought it up.  I asked him what he thought of the Democratic and Republican challengers.

"I don't watch news.  Who should I vote for?"

He was serious.  He went on to explain that he never paid attention to politics.  Who was in charge didn't matter to him and had no effect on his life.

I guess this is what is called being apolitical.  I prefer to call it apathetic.   And I told him as much.  He was not moved. 

He grinned.  "Whatever Mike, I just don't care."

At first I was miffed at his ambivalence so I went on a mini tear.  I shared what my parents pounded into me as a child about the responsibilities of being a citizen.   Then I moved from angry to righteously indignant and tossed out my tried and true "we get what we deserve" notion.

And still all he did was grin.  "You really take this shit seriously don't you?  Nothing changes, so why waste my time?  But you go ahead and get all fired up.  I love listening to you rave."

That shut me up.  I finished fixing his bike and he left.

The more I thought about his responses, the more envious I became.  My life would be so much more uncluttered if I didn't take politics, religion, and such so seriously.  Not being opinionated would make Life an easier flow for sure.  I began to harbor notions of actively being apathetic.  Scheming to train myself off the soapbox mentality I inherited from my very opinionated family.

I projected into the future what this might do for me.  And it was not pretty.  Bottling up my inclinations would create untenable pressures inside my gulliwots.  Who knows what I might turn to for release of that pressure.  All sorts of ridiculous and ugly possibilities crossed my mind.  From wearing women's underwear to stalking local cattle in hopes of ....................... Well anyway, the variety of activities I might use to channel my anger were a lot of fun to think about but not one felt right. 

Some of us are able to live our lives wihtout concern for what is happening around them.  Others like myself are not happy unless we concern ourselves with the events unfolding around us.  In the scheme of things neither mentality has much effect on things individually, but when millions of us harbor the same outlooks, our country heads in directions no one could have predicted.   The recent Tea Party madness is a perfect example.  What happens now is anyone's guess.


Joe the Homeless said...

Smart fucker. I just vented similar frustrations. Seems like now day's a person should set themselves afire on the steps of Congress, or just quit thinking about it. Everything in-between is a futile waste of energy.

PipeTobacco said...


Such an interesting contrast you have written about. I am completely understanding both sides myself.... I typically have been very interested, animated, and eager to discuss all manner of politics and policies related to our government. Yet, over the last two years or so, I have developed a growing sense of malaise... much more akin to the fellow whose bike you were fixing. I do not know if it is actually apathy or disgruntlement... I just know that for a variety of reasons I am seeming to be less interested and less involved in political issues for reasons such as... a) a lack of progress on virtually any political issue of merit, b) politicians who seem too extreme and not moderate, c) the decline in newspapers as a form of news (tv sound bites annoy me).

So, I am not sure where I will evolve. I just know that I *do* feel less politically interested than I used to... and sometimes that worries me, but sometimes it is freeing.

Randal Graves said...

The temporary form may change, but unless loot is taken out of the equation - start flapping your wings and you can fly to Mars, too - the long run is going to remain the long run.

All one can do is not be a tool in their immediate vicinity, that's the extent of our influence.