Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ugliness

Hubby tells me I'm too cynical.
However, it's life that's taught me to be that way. I have gotten to a point where--except for a select few--I expect the worst of people. And, usually, they don't fail to deliver just that.
The worst.
One of the things I have dreaded every Christmas for the past few years didn't happen this year. One annual occurance that truly speaks of the evil in peoples hearts. I am truly surprised.
You see, once upon a time, I lived in New Orleans. I had many friends there. Things were pretty good. But I didn't quite fit in down there so I moved away and made my life where I am right now. It's been a good choice for me. I got a good career, a beautiful home, my husband, and out bouncing baby boy. But I had kept in touch with the pals down south and occasionally we'd even meet up together.
Then Katrina happened.
Remembering how things went down on 9/11 with the phones, I decided to just send out e-mails and wait impatiently to hear that everyone was fine. Within 2 weeks everyone wrote back that they were safe, secure, and no they didn't need anything, a ride, or a place to stay. Later when everyone had returned home, we checked in again to see how everything was and again everything was fine. They did not live in the terribly affected areas. It seems everyone just lost the food in their fridge and freezer, had gained a vermin problem, and 1 or two had minor damage like a few shingles missing, a downed tree, or a broken window. But all their homes and stuff was otherwise just as they left it.
Everyone was very fortunate.
Then later I started hearing from them that they had recieved some aid moneys. Okay, I figured, so they can replace the spoiled food, call an exterminator, and do any minor repairs that had popped up. Fine.
Nope.
They bought Hummers. They bought diamonds. They spent money meant for those in need on ostentatious luxury. These weren't any small token aid payments. This was significant money.
I let them know I didn't want to hear about this anymore. That this upset me. That I felt this was wrong and they should return it all.
They told me I was silly. They were owed this.
I stopped talking to them.
Then yearly during the holidays there'd be a form letter that would come to me from several of them about their strife. How horrible it is to be in New Orleans. How they have no money to buy their children Christmas presents. How their utilities are going to be cut off because they are many months past due. How their house was destroyed and yet they continue to live in it because of no federal aid.
Every year it enrages me. The greed. The disgusting greed.
But not this year. This year I had a respite from being reminded how ugly people can be.

4 comments:

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

That? Makes me sick. I have a FORMER friend that went through the exact same thing (minor damage to her house, but ol' payout from the government). I was hoping it was an isolated case, but obviously that's not so.

People SUCK!

caramama said...

That's a shame. I tend to look for the good in people, and all I can say about those people is that it's a shame. And karma will find them.

Cynthia said...

I just posted this on mom 101 and felt you should see it since it's in response to a comment you made:

Hummers? Honestly? C'mon. What neighborhood are YOU from? We got a whopping $1000 check from FEMA for six people, including my mother-in-law who died two weeks after the storm after evacuating on her death bed. And then we got screwed by our insurance company - the company we had paid thousands and thousand to. And then we paid out of pocket to patch up our roof so we didn't have to deal with birds flying in while we slept. And then we had to shovel toxic soil from our backyard for three weeks. And then we had to listen to Bush and his chronies say that they wouldn't help New Orleans until we "started helping ourselves".

I know not a single soul who this happened to. And I know a lot of people in this city and am a social worker and talk to a lot of people everyday. All of my friends have similar stories to mine. If you know so many people who this happened to, you might want to rethink how you're choosing your friends.

Becoming Mommy said...

Cynthia,
When someone choses a friend as a child, you don't necessarily know how it's going to turn out when you are all 30-something. Time passes and people change. Some for good. Some for bad.
I don't currently have the same friend-chosing criteria as I did when I was 13. I doubt anyone does.
And yes, I knew and had been friends with a some people who became real degenerates. But I found out during all this that it wasn't just FEMA they took money from....it was WIC, Catholic Charities, etc.
Even before the hurricane.
Bad people exist. Wether or not you acknowledge it. And they run in packs.