Living in a condominium building in the third largest city in the United States has really been an education in the nature of my fellow Americans. Couple this experience with the response to the COVID-19 and it’s easy to see why my sister would always say she was Canadian when living and traveling abroad.
In 2020, the United States and its citizens do not garner a favorable opinion across the rest of the planet.
Sharing a building with other property owners is interesting. It’s disheartening to see how many people don’t care about the “common areas” of our building. Occasionally we find beer cans left in the stairwells, or someone will punch the elevator call buttons in the lobby hard enough to knock the entire assembly off the wall. Dog walkers love to put bags of poop in the mail recycling bin (under the large sign that begs people not to put bags of poop in the mail recycling bin). Folks throw cigarette butts off their balcony.
It’s not all bad. We have a good share of pleasant and responsible neighbors, but there are a few that seem to go out of their way to ruin it for everyone else. It’s kind of like the people that voted for Trump. They’re unhappy so they want everyone to be unhappy.
Walking the streets of Chicago I have seen some of the kindest, heartwarming acts of humanity and I’ve seen some of the most jaw-dropping acts of entitlement I’ve witnessed in my nearly 52 years on this planet. I’m encouraged by the number of people that hand a dollar to the homeless person asking for money on the expressway off-ramp. I’m discouraged by the number of people that just walk by the homeless person sitting on the sidewalk on “The Magnificent Mile”.
Public social media posts give us insight to just how awful Americans can be, all in the name of “freedom”. As a Chicagoan it’s concerning to see how many things we see in our daily business that could end up as one of those awful public social media posts. Naturally, these acts are not confined to The Windy City, but with the size and diversity of our population, we have more opportunities to see it.
I think part of my concern is because the pandemic has confined us for so many months and we’re fed such terrible things when we peruse social media. I remember the days when we had just three or four channels, with an evening newscast and a once, maybe twice, daily newspaper delivery. The constant electronic connection, coupled with the ever present 24 hour “news” channels have not fared well for our country. The sad part is I don’t know if there’s ever a way for us to go back to a less bombarded state. I try from time to time, and it’s a good feeling when I’m successful.
Ultimately we find what we seek and it’s taking a very focused, concerted effort these days for me to find the positivity in the population.
I hope I don’t run out of the necessary bandwidth before the election in November.