From What Learning Leaves
You’re the this that somebody ought to do something about.
— Jeffrey McDaniel
The guy in front of me trying to get on the subway
who is blocking my way onto the subway
is not the problem.
He’s my problem,
but even I am not so self-centered as to think that my problem
is THE problem.
Besides, he’s trying to do what I’m trying to do:
get on the subway.
I recognize him as my brother in transit.
No, he’s not the problem.
Nor is the woman in front of him,
nor even the people in front of her.
None of us is the problem,
we few, we happy happy few,
we band of transit brothers.
But there’s a guy inside the subway
with nothing but empty space to his left.
You know who he is? He’s the problem.
I wish he would look at me and say
“What’s your problem?” so I could say
“Don’t you mean, who?”
All he would need to do is step aside
and we could all get on.
But does he realize this? Noooo.
Does he know he’s the problem? Noooo.
Do problems ever realize that they’re problems?
That’s why they’re problems.
Which makes me think,
am I anybody’s problem?
Am I keeping anyone from getting somewhere?
Not out of calculatedly malicious intent
but unwittingly lazy complacency.
If I knew where to look, would I see someone pointing at me
angrily trying to get me to do something
that might not occur to me otherwise?
New life resolution:
try to be aware of the problem.
If you don’t know what it is, it’s probably you.
So step aside.