Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Who Cares?

Sometimes—although not so often of late—Mimi gets into this full-on nihilist mode where her response to any suggestion is “I don’t care.” It’s usually when we’re trying to induce her to do something like finish her homework or take a bath. We offer up the typical parental rationalizations—“If you don’t learn your multiplication tables, you’ll never get a satisfying job,” or “Unless you wash your face, your pierced ear will get infected,” but she remains unmoved. I’ve even been known to respond to her apathy with the classic, “Yeah? Well, I’ll make you care!” to which she nevertheless remains steadfast in her claim that none of it matters anyway.

While I think her alleged indifference is mostly an act and not a position any reasonable person—even the kid herself—really holds, I do, sometimes, feel a kinship with the view. Sometimes—today, for instance—the effort to be empathic and/or concerned about the future is just too much. I, too, feel like the only response to people’s pleas or admonitions is “I don’t care.”

Even things I care about I don’t care about.

Doing my part to reduce greenhouse gasses by riding a bike? Fuck it; I’m gonna by a Dodge Charger and drive everywhere with the stereo blaring.

Mitigating the challenges students face in balancing school and work? Too bad; suck it up and turn your papers in on time!

Being a compassionate and caring husband and father? Enough already, you guys, I’ve got my own problems!

I realize how crummy this attitude is and, like I tell Mimi, if one really doesn’t care, then one wouldn’t care about not caring, either, and so should be able give it up without a second thought.

Still, given the often hopelessness-inducing nature of the world today, it’s hard to sustain a sense that anything is really worth caring about.

Except of course, 327 words for 327 days; that matters for about three more weeks.


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