Four men were walking down the street, a Saudi, a Russian, a North Korean, and a New Yorker. A reporter comes running up and says, “Excuse me, what is your opinion about the meat shortage?”
The Saudi says, “Excuse me, what’s a shortage?”
The Russian says, “Excuse me, what’s meat?”
The North Korean says, “Excuse me, what’s an opinion?”
The New Yorker says, “Excuse me? What’s excuse me?”
See what I mean?
This isn’t necessarily a joke about Saudi Arabians who don’t know shortages…or about Russians who do.
It’s not exactly about North Koreans who’ve never been able to vocalize a thought or an opinion without the fear of sinister retribution.
It’s about the rudeness of New Yorkers.
I’m talking about the classic “Fuck off, I could give a shit about you and the world” New York City resident. We’ve all heard about them. We’ve seen them in TV shows; portrayed on stage and in films. They are rude and inconsiderate and as apathetic as the day is long.
Case in point: The Kitty Genovese Story
Phenominal tale, really and one that’s been beguiling the collective American psyche and to some degree, psychologists and sociologists.
It was about 3:15 on the morning of March 13, 1964 when Kitty Genovese arrived home. She found a parking spot about 100 her apartment building’s front door. But she never made it. She was grabbed by Winston Moseley, a Business Machine Operator, but Genovese broke free and Moseley ran after her and quickly overtook her, stabbing her twice in the back. Genovese screamed out, “Oh my God, he stabbed me! Help me!” It was heard by several neighbors; but on a cold night with the windows closed, only a few of them recognized the sound as a cry for help. When one of the neighbors shouted at the attacker, “Leave that girl alone!”, Moseley ran away and Genovese slowly made her way towards her own apartment around the end of the building. She was seriously injured, but now out of view of those few who may have had reason to believe she was in need of help.
Records of the earliest calls to police are unclear and were certainly not given a high priority by the police. One witness said his father called police after the initial attack and reported that a woman was “beat up, but got up and was staggering around.”
Other witnesses observed Moseley enter his car and drive away, only to return ten minutes later. In his car, he changed his hat to a wide-rimmed one to shadow his face. He systematically searched the parking lot, train station, and small apartment complex, ultimately finding Genovese, who was lying, barely conscious, in a hallway at the back of the building. Out of view of the street and of those who may have heard or seen any sign of the original attack, he proceeded to stab her several more times. While she lay dying, he sexually assaulted her. He stole about $49 from her and left her dying in the hallway…all of which happened within a 30-minute time frame. During the last attack, a neighbor at the top of the stairs, reportedly opened his front door and watched the attack without doing anything to stop it.
A few minutes after the final attack, a witness, Karl Ross, called the police. Police and medical personnel arrived within minutes of Ross’ call; Genovese was taken away by ambulance and died en route to the hospital. Later investigation by police and prosecutors revealed that approximately a dozen ( individuals nearby had heard or observed portions of the attack.
Indecision is a decision..
We embrace apathy because apathy is a fear of commitment- and if we commit ourselves to do good, we have higher expectations of ourselves- and that can be a heavy load.
Still, when all is said and done, commitment always bears unexpected fruit. We may have to nourish that commitment, tend the tree and at times, even prune it. But it’s beauty is the reward. All those things–the effort put forth constitute a small price to pay for a better and fuller life..