I was at the coffeeshop the other night when the couple two tables over caught my eye. The woman was in a wheelchair sitting next to a man who appeared to have some sort of mental handicap. They were in embrace, gently touching each other, acting as if they were saying goodbye to each other for the last time. Both of their eyes were closed and every few minutes they would exchange a kiss. They looked like they were on the verge of tears but you had a feeling they were happy.
I’m staring at this couple, who are oblivious to everyone around them, and realize that their lives are harder than mine will probably ever get. Their day-to-day struggle for normalcy is much more difficult than it is for anyone I know. But they sit there, holding each other, experiencing a strong, deep connection which I’m not that qualified to describe. For a second you wish you have what they have, a very honest and simple love, but then your world begins to fade back in; you hear the espresso machine whirl, the cellphones ring, the flip-flops flip-flopping. And then the mouthbreathers around you kill any remaining emotional thought in your head.
Her van eventually came and he stood by for 5 minutes until she was safely strapped inside. He gave her a final kiss goodbye. Their world is their own: less complicated, quieter, and slower. With what they have, I doubt they care much about anything else. I’ll try to think more about that later, after another day of meetings, phone calls, emails, traffic, drama, exercising, spending money, cooking, plotting, cleaning. Lessons like these always seem so strong when they happen, until they just disapear with the noise that we fill our lives with.
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This was a beautiful post too. Did you have some sort of an epiphany recently?
omigod I’m crying. and I’m at work. fuck.
I normally think you are an utter douche, but this was a surprisingly good post. Clearly I don’t think you are that much of a fuck, as I come to your site daily.
That was pretty heartening.
I think for them, their life complications arise from their physical/mental impairments so any opportunity to make a choice, it is a clear choice to attain those simple pleasures. For the rest of us, the buffet line is wide open, so you’re bound to not know what to choose. Thus the complexities in day to day living are self-imposed and not impairment-imposed. Funny though, you never see that unless you have a life threatening crisis or you experience something like this post.
I had a similar experience a few days ago watching Medical Mysteries and thinking about how different the lives are of the parents of kids (and kids obviously) with life threatening illnesses. Besides always wanting your children to be healthy…how do you handle watching your child get sick…die…all of it. Its devastating to see all of that happen and then watch the couple fall apart on top of it bc the pressure and emotion and change is too much to bear. And then we are tossed back into our own existences where hopefully we are lucky enough to not have to deal with those issues. I’m not making any sense today am I?
Ok, I reread–I make sense…to me at least.
That was really good. You don’t give yourself that much credit. The simple fact that you noticed and reflected on those things means you have an appreciation for the bigger picture. I wish we could all just stop and “smell the roses” every once in a while.
“The woman was in a wheelchair sitting…”
That is a bit redundant, no?
What’s going on with you? This is two heart-warming, socially-redeeming posts in a row. Have you been taken over by the Pod-People?
thoughtful post. aristotle argued for a life of moderation that embraced simplicy. your post reminds me of this and highlights why joy & life satisfaction do not come from the rat race.
Sometimes I read something that is so good that I wish I’d written it. This is one of those times. You certainly are qualified enough to describe…I’m hardly an expert, but I think you did so perfectly. The way you take us into their quiet place for a moment…suspended in their love…and then sort of drop us back into our reality. Really beautiful…
What is all this mature insight of late? DCB I fear the interns have made you their bitch
True indeed, I suppose you guys would be reaching that age as well.
I wish more people had reflective moments like this…
One of my best friends is a paraplegic, and it can be difficult for men to overlook her situation.
My friend Ahmad, whose family is Lebanese, is also dating a girl in a wheelchair. The parents want him to marry someone within their culture, but he loves his girlfriend. He told me once, “Dating someone paraplegic isn’t a fantasy you have growing up…but it’s my reality, and I love her.”
For these reasons and more, your post really touched me.
Yes, that was a rather nice post..
I applaud your empathy, but there’s one thing to remember. Their lives are no less complicated. They are, in fact, more so.
First of all, how do you know that she doesn’t have a job? Secondly, if she didn’t, life would be complicated enough. When getting up in the morning means pulling on straps and making a painful effort, just to get on to a wheelchair, believe you me: multi-tasking phone and email would seem like child’s play.
Thirdly, physical handicaps are not detrimental to your career. Case in point: the mayor of my fine city. You think ANYONE voted for him out of pitty? Nope. Just like the council member who’s a bit of a prick, but represents his power base dutifully. That’s TWO people on City council on a wheelchair.
Even in DC, some of my customers are either deaf or in a wheelchair. And let me tell you: they earn their pay. No handouts here.
Just something else to think about.
I think that when you have handicaps like that, or face something terrible in your life, you really truly appreciate having someone to love who loves you back. You understand how precious and rare it is. I think too many people throw away or discard people in their lives.
if it was so obvious that dropping out of the rat race brought joy and happiness and honest, simple love, why isn’t everyone doing it? in fact, why are the only people doing it the ones who don’t have a choice?
who here would cripple their legs or slow their minds if it guaranteed simple and honest love?
the sounds of silence…
how about this. ditch the treacle and have it all. simple, honest, angel-pure love and legs to walk on. but don’t expect not to fight for it. if you don’t have the stomach for darwinian clash then lower your standards until you find toothless retards attractive. and be happy with not being happy.
people do drop out of the rat race & it’s not because they lower their standards. their paradigm shifts. they’re the folks who leave their soul sucking i banking jobs to start small companies in maine or go off to teach micro finance in chennai. making piles of money becomes less important. they live healthier lives, spend more time with friends and family, and connect to community. in essence they get the human component to life. lastly, their partners are not “toothless retards.” they are equally intelligent, healthy, compassionate human beings.
DCB should have offered the guy a free “I pump and dump” t-shirt after the van drove off. Now THAT would have been a touching moment.
anon, are you a former i banker? every ib i know burned out by 30 in spectacular emotional breakdowns. and these guys were not wilting flowers. but they had made their millions.
people who talk of leaving the rat race fall into two camps: those who have already made it and can afford the luxury of musing about life’s deeper purpose and those who will never make it so they squeeze sour grapes in a vain attempt to belittle the prevailing orthodoxy which has so cruelly left them behind.
now there is one sure way to drop out and not suffer the awful consequences: lobotomize yourself and be admired for your purity of soul from the DCBs of the world who would pity you sooner than emulate you.
The point of the post was to put things in perspective…not to compare if people with handicaps have harder lives….just read it for what its worth
Definitely a paradigm shift in DCB’s writing. Although I enjoy his misogynistic postings now and then, they can get old because the theme is the same. The kinds of observations DCB has been making recently (at least over the last 2 posts) shows that he can look beyond pumping and dumping at other things in life. Those other things might not necessarily be more important or valuable than pumping and dumping, but rather they’re just different.
WTF is going on with you man?????? Snap out of it….Were you in some near death accident??????? Without you all is lost and the Terminators *the machines* will win…
I hope every single guy or girl who’s looking for someone special read this post got an injection of hope. If someone who has a difficult/unusual characteristics can find someone to love them, then us joe-schmo’s can too. I once watched a TLC program about a woman with no legs. She existed only from the top of head to her hips and pelvis. She moved around by sitting on a skateboard. She married and had a child (which the doctors didn’t think was possible). Hope.
I’m kinda bored with girls at the moment but I’m sure the anger will kick back in any minute now.
It must suck to be parapalegic. At least studies show that within a year after loosing use of your legs you have the same level of happiness as the general population. (reread Mean Genes pp. 109)
“I?m kinda bored with girls at the moment but I?m sure the anger will kick back in any minute now.”
DCB you are angry, I like it.
I figured you’d be used to this scene growing up, being that you are clearly the child of two retarded/genetically inferior persons.
your a beta male. this proves it
Awesome post. It’s unfortunate that some of your readers just don’t “get it”.
This post gives me a different perspective about you. Where did that obnoxious little prick disappeared to?. The ability to empathize with those who are less fortunate is a sure sign of maturity. Congratulations,
its a real lame post
That gave me a boner an made me want to cut people.
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