Is Chivalry really Dead or do Strangers Bite?

Is Chivalry really Dead or do Strangers Bite?

Monday, January 25, 2010

This morning, a certain memory crossed my mind

My cousin and I went for a ride one evening, I was a new driver. We drove for a fairly long distance on highways, pressing down on the accelerator with a kick-down every now and then. Cutting to the chase, we soon started to hear a strange sound and there was a weird smell in the car. Just when I pulled over and reached my hand to pull the hand brake up, I realized that it was actually on all that time

The stench of smoke filled the car and we had to get out. I looked at the left rear wheel and there was smoke coming out of it. I panicked and started calling people to know what I should do. We sat on the pavement waiting for the car to cool down and the smoke to stop. It wasn’t a busy area, more like a highway with light traffic and a few scattered buildings

Now, imagine the scene: two girls sitting on a pavement in the dark next to a smoking car. I couldn’t help but find it weird that nobody actually stopped to ask what was wrong. We didn’t really need help but what if it was someone who did need help? It was disappointing

What reminded me of this is a small encounter I had this morning. I had left home as usual checking the time so that I start my daily race to work. EVERY MINUTE COUNTS. I rushed on my usual route realizing soon that I was going a bit too fast for a rainy day. As I reached the airport road, there was a car pulled over to the side of the road and there was a man standing beside it, he looked like he was waving at me, motioning with his hands trying to stop me. I gave him an odd look but didn’t stop, not only because I was in a rush but also because of residual Xenophobia that I developed few years ago, I feared strangers. Also, because in the back of mind there was that socially instilled presupposition that girls don’t to stop to help strange men

But as I passed him by I did some quick thinking. It was broad daylight, it was a busy area and the man certainly didn’t look like a thug. He looked like a man in trouble. So, I pulled over with a sudden steer about a hundred feet away. The man came running and told me he needed a car jack. We opened the trunk and start fishing between the   equipment that I was surprised I had there, but I was sure there was a jack somewhere. I was thinking of calling work to tell them I’d be late but then it turned out that the jack wasn’t the type he needed

For a moment there, I felt relieved that it was, and I’m angry at myself for that. It’s as though I did my part so that I won’t feel guilty about not trying to help, but at the same time I could continue on my way to work normally. It made me question my motives: When I do something, do I really want to help people or do I just want to feel good, to silence that voice within, and to rub it in the face of my conscience

Could a human being be selfish even in the most selfless of situations, or is it only me


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