Insight On the Work of Anger and De-Humanization

Posted on August 11, 2015 by

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In recent weeks, nothing has angered my wife and I as much as our neighbor taking the parking space in front of our house.

For one, they have 7 cars.  Second, we are now limited to only one side of the street for parking.  Third, they leave an SUV full of junk, that they never move right in front of my goddamn house.  What the f…

Y’know

It’s ironic given that I’m all about “public space” in Los Angeles, and ensuring the openness of spaces everywhere, but it’s a bit annoying when this piece of public space they never let up;  [sarcasm]at least that’s how I justify my anger as the protagonist and my neighbors the villains. [/sarcasm]

One of my wife’s reactions to the whole situation is basically why I am posting.

As my common every day self, I like to keep it friendly, hilarious, and attempt to exude warmth if possible.  We’ve extended the same hand to our neighbors at least when parking wasn’t an issue.  We give them small talk about work, about the growth of our baby.  They collect boxes and cans; we gave them our boxes and cans.  We entertain their special needs son.  When my mother-in-law was staying with us, she would talk to them.

But my wife, incensed by the parking situation, said to me, “that’s why I don’t let them know anything.”

That’s a fairly mundane statement — what she means is that she did not want us to be friends with our neighbors, or at least not to build any connection with them.

Why?

My insight is that we don’t want to be connected to them because we wouldn’t be obligated to social niceties with “them.”  With entities we don’t know.  We wouldn’t have to expect courtesy from them, and them from us.

We could act without respecting social rules or common courtesy if we know less about them.