Of all the things that I thought would help me with coming to terms with my past I never once imagined it would be an episode of The Walking Dead but shit happens.
(Big, fat, smelly spoilers coming up).
In episode 5 of season 8, the Saviours (nasty bady guys) have had their asses kicked by the Alliance (morally dubious good guys). Their base is surrounded by flesh eating zombies and a crisis meeting is being held by the Saviour Lieutenants in a conference room, their leader Negan believed to have been killed during the ass kicking.
Various ideas are bandied about, one being to get 40 of “the workers” and use them to try and clear the zombies, meaning the people in the room can get clear. When it’s pointed out that this would mean the deaths of the workers chosen, the person who suggested the idea is like “so?”
They are then interrupted by all the workers “coming up the stairs” (an area they are expressly forbidden to enter) as they are frightened and currently without leadership. The lieutenants are more annoyed at this entirely justifiable interruption and regard it as an imposition, threatening people and yelling at them to go back downstairs where they belong.
For a lot of my life I’ve not understood why some people can treat other people so appallingly. I’m not talking about genocide or human rights abuses as that comes under an entirely different strain of human behaviour. I’m talking about those who preach kindness and expect to receive courtesy from others…but are shy at giving it out themselves.
In my life I’ve had bosses and line managers who gleefully mistreated their underlings in petty, vicious ways while HATING the same treatment. I regarded this as hypocrisy and it made me beyond furious.
There were bullies who happily kicked, spat at and punched others…yet regarded retaliation as a complete abomination, expecting to be allowed to mistreat to their hearts’ content. This is what probably got me into violent horror movies at about age 13.
There have been figures of authority, relatives, even strangers who think that for some reason the rules for their own world are utterly different to those the plebs have to obey.
Something clicked in place watching that episode of Walking Dead as it showed that the deputy leaders within the Saviours mainly considered the “normal” people as deserving of treatment way below what they would expect. Further, they got angry at these people wanting more as this was an intrusion into their own worlds and the rules they had made.
Another show I’m watching avidly is Narcos which has the (partly fictional) story of Pablo Escobar, a Colombian drug lord from the 1990s. Despite being an utter cunt, the episode I watched last night has one of Escobar’s sicarios get snatched off the streets, meaning Pablo and his family will have to leave their home in case the cops or rival gangsters find them. However, Pablo’s wife has spent all day preparing and cooking a meal for the entire family. He tells his men to load the vehicles and I fully expected him to cancel the dinner but no. He apologises for joining the table late, and then sits down to eat, determined that the family will enjoy this delicious food that his wife spent so long (and so much love) preparing.
As I grew up I was told that I should do more. My mother wanted to see that I wasn’t just lazing around the house so by the time I was 16 I was cooking meals for the family at least once a week. All fine and dandy. However on numerous occasions she would behave rudely and in a hurtful manner, regarding my efforts as the absolute bare minimum I should be doing in light of the fact that she was generously allowing me to live in her nice house that she worked so very hard to pay for.
One time the meal (that I’d spent 2+ hours cooking) was ready 12 minutes after I’d said it would be (as I wanted to get the sauce just right). She refused to eat it, saying “I haven’t got all day to wait for you” and later blamed me for depriving her of the nice meal she’d been so looking forward to.
Another time she said flatly “Thought we were having chilli” when I asked her what she thought of the spaghetti bolognese I’d prepared for us all. When I shouted “I’ve just spent 2 hours cooking that for you” she glared at me and shouted back “YES BUT YOU SAID YOU WERE MAKING CHILLI!!!” then looked at my father and shook her head.
Yet another time I was stood at the oven preparing a shepherd’s pie and she walked in from work and went “Oh, I’ve been looking forward to a baked potato all the way home.”
She never said thank you or complimented me on the meals I made and one day when I asked why she simply sneered “Why should I say thank you to you Lance?!!”
The fucking list goes on.
To boil it down to its basic elements. Her son was making her dinner and she regarded it as a meal in a restaurant where she was not required to show the slightest bit of gratitude or politeness despite kicking off with major tantrums if we behaved the same way.
This behaviour wasn’t just from her. I’ve seen it from teachers, colleagues and you can see it at least once on any international flight you take as there is some prick who resents the chair in front being reclined fully, even though the seats are designed to do that and if you don’t like it FLY FUCKING BUSINESS CLASS.
Something finally came into focus the other night while watching my favourite zombie TV show. The standards that some people expect for themselves are not the ones they treat others with. It’s not because they’re stupid, it’s just because they genuinely believe that they are superior to mere mortals and therefore deserve better things at all times.
Most people grow out of this phase when they become adults. Some don’t. My mother was a spoiled little rich girl who went to private school and owned a pony or two. Having to do things she didn’t want to was totally against her fundamental belief in how the universe worked. Every time she did a favour for another person she kept a tally. However she genuinely thought that others should want to do favours for her, solely due to her utter awesomeness. If she was upset then the rest of us had to be as well. After all, if the 4th floor is upset, then what right do the rest of floors 1 to 3 have to enjoy themselves.
I’ve finally twigged that the abuse and hypocrisy that a lot of people inflict on others is not due to a sociopathic state but because, in their own minds they are the crisis room lieutenants, annoyed that the plebs have disturbed their meeting with such a trivial thing as wanting to stay alive.