Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Difference Between Everyone Else and I

"Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

Howard Thurman

This story took place on a typical week back on a typical class day morning at about 8:00 am and typically, I was running late. It's this vicious psychological experiment my college is running on us, see. First year of medical school was all 8:00 am kick-starts the week through, Saturday in the package. Then, they softened us in the second year, cutting out Saturdays and letting us come to class at a more humane 9:00 am - then BAM! Reversion to the old first year routine in the third year. It's almost like they wanted us to hate coming to class at 8:00 am by showing us just how awesome a 9:00 am starter is. What senseless cruelty.

My class is located on the second floor of this lecture hall complex building they call the Interact, no doubt in the hope that its name would magically inspire students deprived of that last hour of sleep like me to be more interactive and involved in the learning process. I have made this pledge to completely refrain from using elevators a couple of years back and I am pleased to announce that I have kept to it religiously. I stuck to it even when I was running late on that typical class day in that typical week back.

It was when I got to my lecture hall's door that things stopped being typical.

To make this simpler, here's a highly scientific diagram to show you what I saw there,


It's that puppy which lives in my neighborhood - the sandy one with the dead sister in this post of mine (depressing read, by the way, but cute pictures). The absurdity of it made me wonder if I was actually still back home in bed, dreaming, my alarm clock still trying futilely beside me to wake me up for my 8:00 o'clock. The pup's in the Interact. On the second fucking floor. Waylaying class-goers outside my lecture hall! It was surreal. It was all wrong. Dogs don't belong here (neither do students at 8:00 am, if you ask me). My other colleagues who were also running late were trying their best to get past the pup to the door and it was lucky for them that I arrived then I think, because no one else is half as willing to get his hands dirty as I am.

Gripping the pup's collar, I peered into the class and saw that the lecturer had already begun her talk and for a fleeting moment, I thought of just leaving the pup to its own fate outside and popping right in. My attendance record isn't in very good shape and I didn't want to hurt it further by being overly tardy. I wondered what would happen if the security guy got to it - he does carry that awfully big stick. The pup's sister died a week before because of spinal injuries and bleeding into its insides due to someone hitting or kicking it too hard, and that could happen to this sandy one too. And I didn't think it could find its way out very well either. What would Jesus do?

Fuck it, I thought, and began dragging the very reluctant pup down the stairwell (still sticking to my no-elevator policy) and did I say very reluctant? Wait, I need a lot more emphasis on "VERY". It was giving me that canine "nuh uh" resistance every step of the way down - I think it must have really wanted to attend the 8:00 am medicine class badly. That's the sort of zeal our Dean wants from us. I considered carrying it at some point but then I realised that I couldn't without muddying my white coat. Whose idea was it to dress medicos in that colour anyway? I think black or red's more practical - both are way better than white when it comes to bloodstains.

Even past the Interact's entrance, the stupid pup wouldn't bloody yield. I dragged it out on the asphalt but there was still no surrender. As soon as I let go of its collar, it made for the lecture hall complex again. Long story short, I dragged it half a kilometre back to my place at Acharya Compound, giving negative reinforcements all the way in the form of smacks on its snout and growls (that's how I got it to stay out of my room even when I got my door open). People looked at me funny. Half of them probably thought I was being really mean to some dumb animal. Hey, someone's got to do it, okay?

I walked all the way back to the Interact after I deposited it in my verandah and latched the gate (so it couldn't follow me). It was 8:35 am by the time I walked into the class but thankfully, it was that nice postgraduate from the Medicine Department who was lecturing that morning so I got away with it without a snag.

What I mean to say is; there are more than a hundred people in my class. Of all those people who saw a lost pup which against its better judgement (non-existent), followed someone playfully there, not a single person actually did anything. I mean, the pup could have been killed for being a nuisance, all because someone thought it was a good game to lead the pup there. All these people, they just wanted to run around the pup to get into class. I know most of these people. Some of them are people who constantly remind everyone that they are dog lovers. Some of them have claimed to be morally superior because their God is the absolute-fucking-standard-of-morality. Two of them were actually the people who adopted the puppy and brought it to our neighborhood in the first place. ALL OF THEM are medical students, supposedly paragons of compassion and empathy, and all that I-want-to-save-lives and do-good-in-my-life shit (says so right there in their university entrance essays).

Only one person felt bad enough to do something.

Yes, it sounds like I'm bragging because I am. I'm proud of what I did. I'm proud that my conscience just bleeds that much more than everyone else's, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that whatsoever. I didn't sign on to dog-sit the pup in the first place but I really didn't want the pup to get beaten or killed.

Everyone else just wants to get to class on time.

Has different priorities,
k0k s3n w4i


voon said...

That made me feel bad.

Here I was thinking everyone was all dead inside and you proved me wrong. Maybe there is something I can look forward to, thanks kok. I know that morals should never be relative but seeing as how most people in class couldn't give a rats ass about how you are inside as long as you appear nice to them (or at least smart, so they can ask you something) it made me indifferent.

Thanks for making a difference to the pup, and to me.

bevE said...

does voon go to your uni too?

u sound like Dr Cox on a down day.

bevE said...

sometimes, all the world needs is Fish.

fubi said...

d imaginary puppy so cute xD *pets puppy lovingly*

hanna said...

hehe good job

I guess I wouldn't have done it because I'm not exactly an animal lover :P

phingy said...

you did good ;)

i am an aminal lover, but i'm kinda scared getting close to them. dogs might bite me . LOL

you should feel really proud ;)

thirteen said...

You have a right to brag. Often people know that they should do what's right. But too often, people just close their eyes, shut it out to get on with life. And I am guilty of that myself more often than I should be. Keep it up!

Oh yes, writing isn't about huge flowery words. Too few people understand that it is more about the flow than the words themselves. I can't agree more with you on that.

The ticket looks even more kick-ass in real life! Nasty easter egg you've put in there! (;

I like your in-depth review about the Dark Knight. By the way, have you read the Long Halloween? I'm thinking of getting it but my local bookstore is currently out of stock. So I'm waiting...

k0k s3n w4i said...

voon: indifference is a scary thing. it made people less than human, less able to feel. Whatever I did, I only did it because my conscience told me to. I trust it to tell me what's right. try it. it can be really rewarding.

beve: yes, he does. Dr. Cox is funny. I'm just angry. I seem to have a lot of pent up anger these days.

fubi: the real one cuter T^T

hanna: i'm not exactly a people lover either but here I am, studying medicine.I don't think we need to like someone to help him... or it.

phingy: well, it's a puppy that just kept following people around. you can't be scared of it if u see it! very sweet thing xD

thirteen: i heard that the rule of thumb in writing is to use whichever word that comes to your mind first. actually, the printing was fucked up and the ticket ended up being stretched, totally messing up the design. the clock was oval! Anyway, you can download The Long Halloween using bittorrent, you know. that's where I got mine. and yeah, I did read it.