Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Don't Throw Me Away

We are such a disposable society. There are even disposable cell phones, now. But I worry that we treat people as disposable, too, especially those closest to us.

Certainly, most of us know what it's like to feel dispensable at our jobs. We are too easily replaced, and there is always a new crop of younger people waiting in the wings, willing to take over our sometimes crappy jobs for us, for the same crappy pay--or less.

I have felt dispensable as a restaurant server, for far too many years. And in between restaurant jobs, I have felt not completely indispensable as a dancer. When working on cruise ships, it was easy to understand the point of view that we were rather dime-a-dozen, as live entertainment.

Break-ups and divorce seem to be the most difficult situations in which people are disposed of, thrown away. I have never been married, but being dumped from a relationship can sure feel like being tossed out as so much crumpled-up used tissue. That's when feeling disposable, replaceable, can hurt the most.

I think about my father divorcing my mother, and my brother divorcing his wife. Neither of the women had wanted the divorce. Both had wanted to stay in their respective marriages, to keep trying . . . It felt to me as if they had both been thrown away by the men in my family, especially when both my father and brother each married for a second time.

I am just as guilty as the next person, though, when it comes to disposing of former friendships from my life, justifying the feeling that too much negativity was not worth any further effort. I felt it was necessary to throw away the emotional damage.

Is the problem overpopulation? If there were fewer people on the planet, would we value the individuals around us more? It reminds me of how shocked I felt when I first heard that perhaps war was a necessary evil for population control.

I like my life, love it, actually, most of the time, but without gettin' all "It's a Wonderful Life" sappy (which I have never seen, but that's a crime for another post), I doubt that the world would be very different without me living in it. Everything that I've done, so far, could have been taken care of by another person, in my life time. Personal friendships, however, that's a category more difficult to be so cavalier about.

As long as I am occupying space on this planet, though, I feel obligated to make the effort to value the people around me, and to respect them enough to see them as not so disposable. I'm not saying that I always manage to do so, but I try to remind myself of that, now and then.

Besides, "you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone."


Marshall said...

WOW I'm interested first of all to know where that post was inspired from. But more importantly, you've given me something to think about! Lots actually!

golfwidow said...

I read a sci-fi story by Spider Robinson about a species that herded another planet's animals to kill each other to make food for them. Turned out, of course, that the planet was Earth. It was a creepy concept. Fortunately, as it was Spider, the bartender who heard the sob story of the "herder" guy threw him out of the bar.

Peter Varvel said...

M--just something that has been on my mind, for a few ways, how we devalue each other (some of us).

G--you make me think of "Dharma & Greg," which I LOVE, and how hippie-Abby is always referring to the animals as 'sister' or 'brethren.'

Quin said...

i just heard a bell ring.

Peter Varvel said...

I don't know if my fairy's wings here on earth count . . .