It's been a while, I know. The excuses remain the same, it should not come as a surprise at this point. Get over it.
When I was at the Pré-Universitário Comunitário Rubem Alves last Saturday - which, apparently, is the only activity that generates blog-worthy material in my life -, I had a few unfortunate encounters with a certain flawed logic that, despite its virulent despicableness, seems to spread around with undisputed ease. One would think people who choose to work at a social project would somehow combat it, but, to my deep flabbergast, they seem to rather embrace it.
I'm talking, of course, about elitism, the belief that marginalized individuals do not belong together with """"enlightened"""" people. Of course, they don't really ever admit it, unfortunately, because most of them are actually as bright as a burnt candle and proving it would be no challenge at all. What makes such people even relevant on my radar is the fact that they are actually acting out of elitism, not just thinking or talking out of it. As an engineer, I've been trained to forfeit shape over content, intention over message, and, of course, actions over beliefs. Being arrogant to fight arrogance would be a breeze. But, in this situation, it is to no avail, because all of my self-proclaimed experience in human relationships left me unprepared for what happened last Saturday.
One of our teachers dismissed the entire class without giving them lunch vouchers to eat at the university cafeteria. A beginner's mistake, for sure, completely understandable for someone in his first day at the job, I hold no grudge. I, then, asked for a group of four teachers that were leaving for lunch to take and distribute them. Ten minutes later, a student called me to tell that she was there, waiting in hunger, under the Brazilian sun, for a voucher that never came. Fearing for the worst, I locked my room and left immediately, only to find out that they, indeed, arrived in time, but carrying an insufficient amount of tickets for all students. Instead of doing what a rational, compassionate, decent human being would have done, they decided the best course of action was to hang the students up to dry under the tropical heat while they - the enlightened, the masters, the elite - comfortably sat for lunch at the refrigerated cafeteria hall. While my fellow coordinators took the moral responsability of publicly humiliating them back to Earth, I went out to organize the students in a line in order to hurry them up and reduce the amount of time wasted in this clusterfuck.
We managed to secure a separate line for them so they could get in quickly. Of course, regulars at the cafeteria were curious about it, and many of them came up to me and asked what was going on. Most of them understood and cooperated, which led to the false sense of security that what we were doing was in conformity with what humankind, after six millenia of history, civilization, and rational thought, deemed acceptable for life in society. Of course, it didn't take long for it to crash and burn when a blonde lady, looking like someone in her late 20s or early 30s and fashionably dressed in a light blue dress that shone beautifully against the sunlight, came up to me and asked the very same thing I had been asked a dozen times that afternoon. But, unlike the others, she was not satisfied with the answer. Instead, she was more interested in knowing why she - the enlightened, the master, the elite - was being inflicted the suffering of sharing the cafeteria with those marginalized students: "the cafeteria is only for university students", she said, "how come are they allowed to eat in there?". A dumbfounded version of myself stood there, wide-eyed, unable to fully comprehend the disgusted hues that composed such awful big picture. I could only answer that they are, in fact, university students, even if not yet enrolled in an undergraduate program, and that was reason enough for them to eat in there. She released a scornful laugh and left to the line that suited her as a student (but not as a decent human being), and I tried my best to contain the signs of latent anger that were attempting to take over my body.
I tried to ingest some food, but the nausea was too unbearable to overcome, so I just returned to the Project ahead of everyone else seeking for a good soul to help me relieve of all this pain. I thought I had found the one at the teachers' room, but I was mistaken. Oh, so thoroughly, acutely, painfully mistaken!
"Hey, Ramon, I was looking for you!", my presence being recognized with a bright smile and a kind gesture, "I need to leave in a rush and there was no one else to unlock the room".
"Sure, but I really need someone to talk to...", I tried to say, but was abruptly interrupted in favor of more pressing needs.
"Do you have 40 cents on you? A student asked for help to get back home, but I don't want her to have change, you know how it works, right? It is our duty to make ends meet", asked the sweet voice, the bright smile still shining.
"N-no... sorry, I have to go", I whispered, trying to keep the very last of my spirit unbroken and desperately failing.
Merely writing those lines makes my spirit burn in anger. I can't take this story any further, this is going to have to end right here, right now. Everything in it infuriated the fuck out of me: with these inhumane bunch of assholes whom I have to rely upon; with the unfortunate series of events that forced me into each of these distressing situations with no pause for reflection whatsoever; but mostly with myself. Because a better, braver, stronger human being would have done straight away the right thing and told them, all of them, what they needed to hear: pack your shit and leave, get the fuck out of my face and don't ever think of reminding me of your sorry excuse of existence.
But I didn't, and the opportunity was missed. The only thing left for me was this blog post, as an everlast monument to contemplate my own weakness.