There is Only Us
Oh, the things we take for granted! After that pipeline leak, several of the gas stations near me ran out of gas. I never considered the impact not having ready access to gasoline would have on me. I felt like I was in an episode of The Walking Dead – driving from gas station to gas station, increasingly panicked I would run out of gas. Then I played it forward, thinking I wouldn’t have the gas to get to my speaking engagements! How could I explain THAT to my clients? Or I might get stuck on the way home from one, walking along some lonely stretch of road in the middle of nowhere, soon to be abducted and never heard from again (or eaten by zombies). Finding a station with gas consumed me. I downloaded apps for my phone to find gas while traveling, so I could fill up before it was TOO LATE! I even had to use regular once! Oh the horror, the horror!
As I write this, Hurricane Matthew is speeding toward the US. It looks bad and I’m again thinking of all the things we take for granted. The biggest? Electricity. We are so dependent on it, when it goes out, we lose our minds. It is like oxygen for most of us (or maybe crack cocaine) . We don’t think twice about the electric company on a daily basis, but the minute the power goes out, we scream about how inept they are. And when something isn’t working – it’s always “they.” I can’t believe “they” are taking so long to get my power back on! “They” make so much money they should get gas to me right now! “They” suck!
You know who works at the power company? On the pipeline? In customer service? “Us.” Your neighbors. The people who shop at Target with you. People just like you. People we take for granted every single day. There were hundreds of people working on that pipeline. There were tanker truck drivers working extra hours to get gas to me as soon as possible. And you know what? They’re working for us every single day. Right now, there are trucks and trucks of linemen, National Guard members, and others headed to help where the hurricane is projected to hit. They are going to put their lives in danger so we can play Pokémon Go. And they do it every day. Being an electric lineman is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Every time we flip a switch or send a text we should be grateful for all the people who make it possible.
I’m giving you dramatic examples, but there are millions. The cashier has to show up to open the gas station. The nurse has to train and get up and deal with crabby patients to be there to help your child. And whatever job you do, there are tons of people who should be grateful for you. We all play a role in making the world work.
One of the things apocalyptic shows like The Walking Dead demonstrate is how dependent we all are on each other. When people aren’t working (because they’ve been eaten by zombies) – there’s no gas, no power, no food (people have to grow it, harvest it, package it and get it to you), garbage piles up, lawlessness is rampant. Our lives collapse.
Losing something makes you realize how much you came to take it for granted. We should all be more aware that we could lose anything we have at any time. We should be more appreciative of all those who are helping us right now – there are people keeping our power on, picking up our garbage, ensuring our safety, producing our food and helping us in a million different ways. You put your life in the hands of countless others on a daily basis without even thinking about it.
So try to thank everyone who helps you when you can. Try to appreciate all you have. Consider all the people who helped create the things and services in your life. And realize when there are problems, there is no “they.” There is only “us.”