Monday, August 29, 2011

He Lives In The Middle Of Nowhere With Muriel

I watched a woman pee. This wasn't a sexual thing, the woman and I were stuck in traffic after an event we both attended had ended. We had been waiting for at least an hour when she opened the backseat door and the driver's door to create a make-shift barrier. She dropped her pants, squat down and peed. From my view point, I couldn't see anything except the doors, but the car to the left of me and the truck in front of me must have had a clear view of everything.

I understand that she must have had to pee extremely badly, but to have the courage necessary to pee in public like that is admirable. And I know that I'm giving this woman a little too much credit, but it seriously took some huge ovaries. Never in my life, would I pee in a crowded parking lot.

In my defense, I have done things others would never dream of.Some people think that for me to live alone is courageous but I feel that is just something I'm doing. The same can be said of when I found a place to live in Boston on Craigslist. My English professor at the time was amazed I would do this without worry; I was not.

In high school, a history teacher had us answer a "question of the day" to start class. I remember one question was "what is the definition of courage?" Most of the class' answers involved overcoming a fear, an act of bravery or something akin.

However, a student (I believe her name is Kaara) said (and I'm paraphrasing here), "Courage is not accomplishments done in the face of danger, but doing the right thing even when you don't want to."

Even now her reply makes me stop and think. Sometime you can not explain a complex idea like courage without defining what it is not. For isn't not knowing what something is, half the definition of learning to understand it?

I can't recall my original response to the question of "what is courage" but I'd like to change my answer to this: courage is not something done to achieve a specific goal, but doing something another person would never do.

In a sense this makes every action courageous. So how do we know if we have any courage? Maybe by doing something we'd never dream of. Or better yet, maybe we all to need to pee in a parking lot.