Are we a paranoid society?

Usually I take one main road from home to school, and from school back home. About half way during the trip on several occasions, I have noticed this woman, who was carrying grocery bags and walking home. Our state has no transit system at all. There are buses, but even so one would walk a long distance.

So I see this woman perhaps several times on my en rought and each time that little voice tells me give her a ride, but there is also that other voice that says maybe she doesn’t want your ride, after-all I am a stranger. I wouldn’t take a ride from a stranger.

Yesterday, I saw her again on my en rought and she was struggling big time. I couldn’t take it, so I stopped my car, pulled down my window and asked her if she needed a ride. I expected a polite no thank you, but she seemed relieved. I helped her with the groceries and asked her for directions to her home. Turns out she lives in a neighborhood close to our business and that is why I usually see her when I am driving down that road. We talked for a bit. She seemed like a nice lady, who fell on hard times. Since I can be very sensitive, I was trying hard not to be overly emotional while talking to her, because people don’t like pity, but it’s hard to see someone alone and struggling on their own.

I gave her my number and told her to call me if she needed to do grocery. I thought I did the right thing, until I narrated the story to my family and our friends, who were at the business where I stopped before going home. Let’s just say they managed to scare the shit out of me. They seemed to have an example after example of a person, who was being a good Samaritan only to be taken advantage of, robbed, or even killed. One story, involved a guy, who used to give rides to one of his co-workers. One day he told the co-worker he was unable to give him a ride and had business to take care of. The co-worker got so angry that he shot him dead. This story, in which I don’t even know if true was to designed to scare me and encourage me to not get involved after this point, because eventually this lady would expect rides from me and if I don’t deliver then I’m going to be hit. And I don’t mean Bruce Lee hit.

I know it may sound silly to some of us, but you should’ve heard them tell those stories. I do think their opinions are reflective of our society. We are paranoid. We think people will rob us, stab us, rape us, or do some other horrible thing to us. We are so paranoid that we even withhold our kindness to our fellow human beings, because we are afraid it may backfire on us. We view kindness/friendliness from strangers towards us as some kind of a cover-up for their evil intentions. We are paranoid of what strangers may do to us. We are paranoid if we get involved, we may suffer the consequences. I don’t agree with this outlook, but I can’t say I am not affected. I’ve been conditioned to be paranoid. What’s the cure? There is a thin line between caution and paranoia perhaps.

2 Responses to Are we a paranoid society?

  1. This post hit home for me for a a number of reasons, I have a close friend who was in that situation a few years ago (fell on hard times), she too ha to carry groceries and everything else long distances because she had no car, a very little income. To make matters worse she had pretty sever breathing problems which made walking a mile or so just to get the bus stop even worse. She talks about that time now, about how sometimes she she was so tired, so desperate, she almost wanted to faint, and then someone would stop and ask her if she wanted a ride…. she felt like these people were angels almost…

    she too, got a lot of flack for accepting those rides, in life there are always “what ifs”… the chances of meeting a murderer/rapist etc. are not so small that they should be ignored, but society does instill in us the fear that danger is always lurking around the corner. It’s a tough call.

    • Guulo says:

      Thank you for sharing that story gazelledusahara. I can imagine. I know when I am stuck and feeling helpless, it does me wonders when someone takes the load off of me and makes my day a little easier. I love such people. Why shouldn’t we do the same for another? I think with all the media coverage on crime and crazy people out there, we have become not only paranoid but very suspicious of each other. It does have an effect,as you have highlighted. For what is worth, the lady I met on the street hasn’t bothered me at all as I was told she would. Perhaps she too is paranoid and suspicious of my intentions and afraid I will whack her or something. Hehe. Interesting world.

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