Monday, December 5, 2011

public empathy

I have a great seat in chapel this semester, on the far right end of the center horizontally-dividing aisle. This means that I have leg room, that I can escape easily if need be, and that no one ever clambers over me. However, somewhere in the vicinity directly behind me sits The Child Cougher. I am not sure who she is (I've assumed it is a she), but every chapel it sounds as though she is sitting with a pair of croupy twins on her lap.

Now, I am sure that her condition is some sort of tragic long-term respiratory affliction, and that is most unfortunate. I am also sure that it cannot be fun to continually sound like a broken pair of baby lungs, especially since chapel is generally quiet except for the speaker and EVERYONE can hear you. But every time I try to approach the situation with empathy, feeling bad for her awkward lungs, etc, I hear the sniffle-cough-hic sound over my book and all my muscles tense up because it is TOTALLY GROSS.

Suffice to say, I think I will be better at empathizing with this poor girl when I am seated (hopefully), very very far away from her in chapel next semester.

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