If you haven’t been in Nuuk you wouldn’t know about our lack of proper sidewalks. Walking within the city often means walking along the roads to some extend.
If you stand close to the road when an ambulance with an active siren drives your way, you take a step back.
You don’t do it for your personal safety, however.
Here, as far as I know, an ambulance responding to a medical emergency has never hit anyone and there is usually enough space everywhere for both driving safely and walking despite the lack of proper sidewalks.
But you do it to respect the ambulance driver and for the ambulance drivers cognitive load. You take your step back to signal to the driver you have seen him and that you will allow him to drive past you without having to worry about your movement.
It’s an instinctive response and we do this for several reasons but I think it mainly comes down to that we care. We’re a small town and anyone the hospital porter is driving out to help could be someone you care about or someone whom you know care about.
Taking a step back is an effortless movement for us. It’s a tiny price we very willingly pay for much-needed peace-of-mind for someone about to help another human being in what may be a matter of life and death.
Likewise, upon stumbling into a funeral procession, regardless of our driving direction, we collectively used to pull over and wait along the side of the road till the procession had passed. A lot of drivers still do this. It feels a lot like a natural response but it’s an unspoken gesture and because it’s not mentioned those whom may not know about this probably won’t do it.
Pulling over and taking a brief pause from the always busy race of commute-travelling is a signal to acknowledging the grief of those participating in the funeral.
Every action you take is a signal to those who may gaze in your direction.
Often I catch myself speaking ill of the sheep of society because I feel like there is so much in this world that could be better and the bystanders help maintain the status quo by providing a sense of righteousness for those who benefit from the status quo.
I do this despite really not liking to talk ill about almost anyone because there’s usually nothing others are doing that I haven’t already done myself or could imagine myself doing at some point.
And it’s kinda bizarre because I think and talk shit to myself about myself all the time. It isn’t till I utter the illness towards others I realise the harm my thoughts and words can convey.
Even the best of us will make mistakes. It’s inevitable as all of us really know nothing in the bigger sense.
Our critics are usually right in some sense. We, when we critique ourselves, are usually right as well in some ways.
But mostly it isn’t important if we are right. Being right is almost always not important. What actually, and eventually, matters most is simply the process of being less wrong.
What ever cause you choose to champion remember to keep in mind why you do it. It will have its price. Whoever and whatever you care about will one day perish. The nature of existence is to cease. As it should be.
“Death is the tax we pay for living.”
So, what is it to you?