People are amazing* (* – sometimes)

There’s one thing I’ve in common with the great George Carlin. We both hate people. He famously said, “You wouldn’t know it, from some of the things I’ve said over the years, but I like people… I do… I like people, but I like them in short bursts. I don’t like people for extended periods of time. I’m all right with them for a little while, but once you get past around a minute, minute-and-a-half, I gotta get the f*** outta there.”

It’s the same. I like people close to me. However, for random people or people whom I know a bit, I don’t like them for an extended period. Mainly because I hate bullsh*ts.

Something happened recently that almost changed my view about people.

I was hospitalized recently for a couple of days. A severe headache and chest tightness were the problems. It was supposed to be an overnight stay, but it ended up being 3 days. The funny thing is, I didn’t tell many people. Even my roommates/flatmates didn’t know that I was in the hospital until I told them almost one day after. I don’t like to bug people. I don’t like to be a pain in the a** for people. So, I thought, it’s better if I don’t tell them.

Since I expected it to be just an overnight stay, I wasn’t prepared for a long stay, and I was without even a water bottle. My request to go to the canteen and buying stuff was rejected by the nursing officers. So, basically, I hadn’t drunk water until the lunchtime next day.

For the lunchtime, people started coming to see their relatives. The guy next to me, a patient, was concerned about me and asked repeatedly to eat the bun, have some water, etc. I wasn’t comfortable eating there in the hospital. So, I was rejecting his offer politely, with my broken Sinhala. Then, on my left side, a lady came to see her relation, mostly her brother. She asked me few times before insisted that I eat something. For the first time, I asked whether she could send someone to buy me a water bottle and biscuit packet. Instead, she gave a biscuit packet and bananas. Then, gave a juice that she bought somewhere. It was no longer a request. It was an order.

Seeing that, I called my roommates, told them that I’m in the hospital, and asked them to bring me to something to eat. They bought me whatever I needed. So, I was all ready to stay for the second day. But, that lady came again. And, once again asked me to eat. I told her that I’ve food with me and I’m fine. But, again, she gave me bananas and asked me to eat biscuits and bananas.

I was baffled really. For so long, I thought humans are terrible. Suddenly here, I found them to be nice. I told my friends, on Telegram, “Contrary to my opinion, people seem to be lovely. Or, may be, people become okayish when they’re cornered? Both sides of my bed were nice people. Both sick men asked me to eat, etc. One guy asked me at least 10 times. A girl came to see the other guy, asked me numerous times. Then in the afternoon, she gave biscuit, banana and some juice by force. Now also, same. Says that she’ll bring me food tomorrow morning. At times, I felt lonely here. Especially when the nurse told me that, I cannot go to canteen myself and I need to find someone. But these people are lovely.”

I think I was right. Sri Lankans used to be united and nice people when there was war. Now that there’s no war, all the racists and misogynists are on loose. It’s the same for Tamil. When there was war, they were united. Now, there seem to be more divisions than ever existed.

Then again, I was in Vavuniya for few days after I was discharged. Since I had to stay home and do nothing, it started getting boring. So, my sister suggested that we watch a sort of documentary film about palliative care. So, I went to watch the film. There, people once again showed me how irritating they are.

A one-old child was crying hell a lot. Who thought that the one-year would love to watch a film in a theater? Who thought that the child would love to be with its grandmother or someone? That child cried for like 30 minutes. When it stopped, the child very next to be started kicking. That was like a 6-month old child. How on the earth that people think that it’ll be cool to bring their toddlers to watch films? How annoying people can get?

*smh*.

Gopikrishna Kanagalingam

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