Friday, October 24, 2008

On nose bleeds and distrust

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the library studying my ass off for midterms. Yesterday, around 2:00 am, I had a sudden urge to have a spicy chicken sandwich from Wendy’s. When you spend hours on end in the library and only get 2-3 hours of sleep every night, you get weird cravings. So, I grabbed the 1 train to 50th st. on Broadway and walked up a few blocks to 55th st. to get my spicy chicken sandwich.

As I entered the restaurant, I noticed a young man sitting picking his nose, I didn’t pay much attention. As I was sitting down to have my sandwich, he asks me “do you know what causes nose bleeds?” When I looked at him, I saw he had 2 napkins drenched in blood. You don’t have to be a medical expert to know that tissues drenched in blood is not a good sign.

“I’m not really sure but you should probably go to a doctor,” was my reply.

“Yeah, that’s what my mom says too,” he said.

When I asked him if it just started, he said that he wakes up every day almost covered in blood. Not knowing what to say, I repeated myself again. “You should really see a doctor then, it could be something serious. I don’t think it’s normal for you to bleed so much.”

“Yeah, and I got into a fight the other day too and that didn’t help things,” as he said this to me, he put his hands together to show me the extent of swelling on his right hand. I again told him to seriously see a doctor, wrapped up my sandwich and left. He thanked me and told me to have a good night.

I've spent a great deal of time thinking about this. I know that he won’t go see a doctor, it was very obvious. But what’s really bothering me is the fact that I was hesitant to listen to him and that I was initially skeptical of both his story and intent. “Let me eat my sandwich in peace”, “Does this guy just want money?”, “Is he a junkie?”

It’s as if skepticism has the upper hand over compassion. Instead of feeling for him, I put myself first and made sure I wasn’t being duped and it was only after I had established that he was genuinely just asking me about nose bleeds that I let my guard down and actually listened to him. I might be over analyzing the situation or am I? Is this a sign of cold heartedness or of selfishness: put myself first and then think about others?

Whatever it is, it just doesn’t feel right.

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