[originally written 4/22/2015]
Just to be clear, I'm not talking about J.R. Tolkien.
I have been to the Mountain. I have felt the Ashes on my brow. I have seen what a skilled Practitioner with a broken soul does to people around her. There's a difference between assertive and asshole. There's skilled and there's skewed.
I can't imagine what it's like to be an immigrant. I mean, I've talked to my Russian grandmother (rest her soul) about Baba, her mother. I remember pictures of her and only understand very little about what it's like to be an stranger to everyone around me. I have friends who went through this, but have never been one myself, except for the past 14 months of life.
I ignore homeless people every day when I go into the city. I disregard their need every time I don't give them the change from my pocket. One time, I saw a Vietnam veteran with a cardboard sign asking for new glasses. The next day after hitting an ATM, I looked for him in on the way back in. I never found him. I should have overcome my ego problems and just eaten the $4 ATM fee right then and there, gone back, and walked with him to the nearest LensCrafters. Do you know how sad it feels to have hundreds of dollars of cash in your pocket for someone who you'll never see again? You won't if you can't.
Remorse, empathy, kindness...these are character traits of someone I'm proud to be. Domination, cynicism, rudeness...they are transparent to people who care. After all this time, I still do; but broken is broken, and as much of an engineer as I am, some things can't be fixed. Some things aren't worth the effort.