Toxic People: Bottom Feeders

It is during desperate times like these that selfish people really expose themselves; expose their true character, that is. With COVID-19 going on and racial tension at its peak, people are reverting to their most basic emotional reactions. It is truly amazing (and by that, I mean disappointing) how quickly humanity abandons any sense of humanity when the chips are down. The truth is, the chips are not really that down; statistically now is still the safest time in history to be alive. But one very real benefit during times like these, is that the selfish really take off their masks and expose themselves for all to see. This makes it easier to spot them.

To be more specific, I speak of the people that are unwilling to look outside the scope of the life they live. They are concerned only with events and policies that affect them and their loved ones, unconcerned with the welfare of strangers or folks outside their circle. These people are what I call “Bottom Feeders” as they contribute nothing in their normal day-to-day activity in their community, to humanity. Instead, they mooch from it, suck the life right out of it with their negativity and/or self-serving interests.

We all know people like this, and we would be well advised to either eliminate them from our lives or keep them are arm’s length distance from us; don’t let them into our inner circle.

Over the course of time I have noticed these people have “tells” or “red flags” that give away their character. I have noticed more of these very recently (during this desperate time). Keep in mind that these red flags are NOT the “be all and end all” of spotting these bottom feeders, just a guide. These red flags are:

  • They do not return the shopping cart to the corral when they are done using it (after grocery shopping). – According to them, once they are done using it, it is not their problem anymore; that is somebody else’s job. A blatant lack of common courtesy.
  • 12 Items or less express lane in the grocery store. – They don’t care, and you don’t even need to count their items to tell that it is obvious that they have well more than 12 items. But none of that matters because their time is more important than yours.
  • Lack of turn signal use while driving. – When it comes down to it, the use of the turn signal does little to nothing to help the one doing the signaling. It’s meant for everyone else; so, others can be prepared for a change on the road during their driving. The driver making the turn already knows they are going to make a turn, so why do they feel they should bother. Again, it’s a common courtesy.
  • Traffic light rushers – They know that the light will turn red by the time they pass under it, and they do not care. Their time is more important than yours.
  • Lack of kindness toward service staff. – When out on a date, pay special attention to how the dates attitude toward the waiting staff is. More so than how they are to you. Of course, they will be pleasant to you, the whole idea of the date is to make a good impression (it’s self-serving).
  • Pay special attention to common self-serving phrases like “It’s a free country” or “My body, my choice”. These phrases are often spoken when in reference to an action that will hurt a third party. Guaranteed, when somebody says “It’s a free country” it’s because they just did, or are about to do a real dick move.
  • Not wearing a mask in public during COVID-19 pandemic. – These people may be confident they will not catch the disease or are sure they will manage it if they do, and that is fine. They also realize that by not wearing one they present a small risk to the people around them (this is common knowledge by now), ……. but they simply do not care. It is just that simple. They be damned if they are minorly inconvenienced to help serve the greater good.
  • Rioters, and any protesters who use violence to convey displeasure with events and/or systems and policies. Unlike the above fed flags, this one has no grey area, it is a dead giveaway of a toxic bottom feeder.

 

These people lack a strong moral compass, and the only reason their acts have not escalated to deeply depraved and heinous acts is the fact that we have consequences for such acts. If we lived in a consequence free environment …… the sky is the limit for them.

In the end, a good judge of character is to spot if a person does the right thing even if there is no reward, or they think no one is watching. Will they do the right thing even if there is no negative consequence for them NOT doing the right thing.

Now is a good time to do some inner circle purging. Mind these red flags. I’d also be interesting in hearing about some of yours. Please comment.

Numb

As we age, we have the tendency to let ourselves get desensitized. We let the world make us numb to everything around us, all stimuli. Horror movies don’t scare us anymore, roller coasters lose their thrill, and the Autumn smell of burning leaves no longer excites us.

There are two things in adulthood that do this to us.

  1. The first of these is “experience.” We can’t expect the same experience to give us the same excited feeling the 100th time as it did the 1st time. This is just the body and mind adapting. For many aspects in life, this would be a positive thing, but for positive feelings/sensations it is a bummer.
  2. “Adult Brain” (that is what I like to call it anyway). On our journeys to adulthood we develop a sense of routine and responsibility, which in turn develops a habit of constant future planning combined with “elsewhere focus”. Always our mind is on the next responsibility, the next task. Often even when there is no hurry and we have plenty of time. Seldom are we focused on the here and now.

If we are to continue to find joy in life, we have to do our best to fight these bad habits we develop into adulthood. We have to maintain and/or regain our sensitivity to the experiences and sensations around us.

Here are some ways I have discovered to kick our numbness, and regain sensitivity, excitement, and appreciation for the world around us. Ways to rediscover value in experiences we have forgotten:

  • Live a more Minimalist lifestyle. It’s simple: Fewer possessions, fewer unnecessary activities that add little value, fewer relationships that add little value, all lead to less responsibility. Free up our lives and minds to let real life find it’s way in again.
  • Add meditation and mindfulness to our lives. Through meditation and meditative practices, we can make ourselves sensitive again to the fruits life has to offer. These are mental practices that re-teach us to live in the moment and be fully present.
  • Re-learn how to live again from our children. I bet you never though the little children had anything to teach YOU. During moments when we spend time with our children, let them lead the way, and let ourselves dive in to those moments (minds hearts and hands). Children will bring us back to the world, to the joys and discovery of so much we have forgotten and taken for granted. Children will bring us back to appreciating the simple things in life again.

I happen to believe that this numbness we gain in adulthood is one of the things that fuel our desire to live a life of excess. After all, if we become numb to the sensations around us, we are naturally going to look for the next “fix” somewhere else; when nature and life’s natural thrills no longer satisfy, we look to possessions to fill that desire.

 

From Metropolis to Ghost Town

I enjoy taking trips to the city (Manhattan). Being from upstate NY I make a point to do so at least once a year. I enjoy the lights, hustle and bustle, and the culture. And from a spectator perspective I DO enjoy watching the commerce; similar to how a wild life experts (Steve Irwin comes to mind) like to observe strange animals in their natural habitat. As a Minimalist, I observe and cringe at all the excess going on, the constant pointless consumption, the desire for instant retail gratification. To me it’s like watching the scene of an accident: We don’t wanna see it, yet our fascination prevents us from looking away.

I would find myself sometimes wishing it would all just STOP. No more over-consumption. No more people packing in stores to buy shit they don’t need. Hoping that this age of excess would end; that cosmetic businesses would END, and we could get back to basics.

But we must be careful what we wish for.

NOW ……. in the wake of COVID 19 ……… and the George Floyd riots, what was once a Metropolis is now a ghost town. And I find myself sad………(sigh).

While I did not care for the marketing and consumption aspect of Times Square, I was very much in love with the social scene, the culture. But when it crashes like this, one can not perish without the other.

It would be ok if this was only temporary, but these businesses are CLOSED …… for good. And there may be no recovering Times Square. We are in the midst of a socioeconomic change that may leave us in a slump for a very long time. I DID want a culture change back to basics, but not like this, ……. never like this. The way it was supposed to happen was in a manner which brought people together, a slow collective realization of a  better way to live. It was not supposed to occur as a crash that tares people apart.

The main idea of a life free of excess, a life free of distraction, is to permit us more time, energy, and clarity to focus on the elements of our lives that actually DO add value. And there is nothing more valuable in our lives then establishing and maintaining strong connections with people, with our community, and humanity at large. Right now that connection is more lost than it has ever been in my lifetime.

Now ……. we are taring down these connections, and we don’t even have “retail therapy” to fall back on to give us a false sense of comfort; this is turn, just frustrates us and makes us angrier, especially while in quarantine.

Once COVID-19 passes, and it is time to rebuild, lets start rebuilding by reconnecting with our community and humanity. Once that is done, we will understand how to best rebuild our businesses.