Paul Parillo Fighting the Crazies: Stop Being So Goddamn Polite*

It’s a frightening experience existing in the public-sphere that we call Toronto.  With the insane amount of people who use the city’s transportation services, libraries, and other concentrated public areas, it's hard not to run into unstable people on a daily basis. Naturally, our first impression of someone who speaks quietly to themselves while seizing uncontrollably is a less-than-favourable one. We don’t intend on being so judgmental, but it’s almost impossible to ignore our harmless ego-driven comparisons.

Giving someone the benefit of the doubt is a noble act and rarely trumped, but there are certain instances where a person’s behaviour (whether controllable or not) warrants an explainable distaste.  But we must ask ourselves – does this distaste have boundaries, and will we speak up when confronted?

“Excuse me sir, could you please stop masturbating next to me? You keep hitting my elbows”. This phrase became routine for me with my visits to the library. My mind remains boggled by the amount of middle-aged, unkempt members of the community congregated around the open access computers, staring at anime porn, nude fantasy chicks, and young girls on Facebook. And if their body odour was only intensified by their horrifying stench of degradation and depravity, things always seemed to remain unfettered and unnoticed.  

Or take, for instance, a puzzling man from the depths of our subway system. Large, unbalanced, and without any regard for reality, he sat watching an attractive woman across from him as he slowly pulled colourful girls’ underwear from his pocket as if they were some kind of perverted currency. Smiling all the while, it was only a matter of time before the attractive woman left the train when the surprisingly spry and nimble gallant of a man narrowly escaped the closing train doors. He followed her, but to what end I’ll never know.

It’s incredible how our instincts – the moments of clarity that keep us alive – can sometimes be overruled by our incessant need to be polite.

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