I am happy to report that I have a new window. I just opened my curtains so I could gaze at it with satisfaction for a few moments. It's solid and unbroken and a much better state of affairs than I woke to three days ago. There are only a few lingering annoyances about the whole business: first of all, although the glaziers washed the inside window before they installed the storm window, they didn't get all the grubbiness off it: you can still see a few smudges where the snowball or chunk of ice thudded against the inside window. Secondly, there are a few bits of glass and other debris trapped on the sill between the storm and the inside window, and since neither opens, the only way to get rid of said debris is to remove the storm window. Of course I won't do such a thing in the middle of winter, but I'm anal-retentive enough to get someone to help me do it when the weather warms up, because I just don't like knowing those bits that shouldn't be there, are.
And third, as I mentioned in yesterday's post, I'm still mulling over the unpleasant idea that some people find vandalism fun. I've been the victim of such "fun" a time or two before. One Saturday morning during my last spring in Iowa, I got up, went out to my car to run some errands, and discovered that someone had kicked in the tail lights during the night. My neighbor told me that someone had knocked over his motorcycle and broken its mirrors.
I dutifully reported the incident to the cops. A nice middle-aged policeman came to take the report. "I don't get it," I said. "Why do people do stuff like this? Why do they think it's fun?"
"Too much alcohol and too much testosterone makes people stupid and mean," he said. "Add in that warm weather's finally here after a really long winter, and you've got all kinds of petty vandalism going on."
But that still doesn't explain why people think vandalism is fun. And as much as I would like to believe that women and girls as a whole don't get off on inflicting damage, I know better.
When I was in high school, there were these girls I knew through church whose idea of a fun way to pass a Tuesday evening was to go to Safeway, fill up a grocery cart with perishables like sirloin roasts and ice cream, as well as health and hygiene items like Preparation H and maxi-pads, then abandon the in the middle of the cereal aisle. These were girls who would stand up during testimony meeting and weep feelingly as they talked about the importance of living a Christ-centered life. When I heard them laughing over how much fun this activity was, I said, "Wow, letting perfectly good food spoil and delighting in making someone else clean up after you--that's the kind of thing Jesus would definitely approve of. Way to be a shining example of the gospel in action! No wonder you feel so strongly that the church and all its teachings are true."
To which they replied, "Sheesh, what a stick in the mud you are. No wonder no one ever asks you out."
Then there were a few of my friends who thought it was really fun to go to Pizza Hut, sit in a booth where you had a view of the door into the bathrooms, plug up the toilet in the ladies' room with toilet paper, then watch the expressions on people's faces sharpen in dismayed disgust as they realized they were standing in a few inches of water backed up from the toilet.
"Why on earth do you guys want to do something so stupid?" I asked. "First of all, it's a crime--it's vandalism. Second, it's taking pleasure in someone else's misfortunes. Is that really the kind of person you want to be?"
Melanie--who also really liked the abandoned grocery cart approach to fun--scowled at me. "You're such a killjoy, Holly. Next time we come to Pizza Hut, if I have anything to do with it, you won't be invited."
(Ah, Melanie: the girl who told me that she had it on very good authority that drinking caffeinated beverages would be enough to keep you out of the celestial kingdom, even if you obeyed all the other commandments of the gospel. But there was no commandment expressly condemning willful acts of damage to others' septic systems, so she could still get into heaven while I, Coca-cola drinker that I was, could not.)
As I said, I understand a desire for revenge without necessarily approving of it. But Melanie and the others had nothing against the other patrons at Pizza Hut, or even against the employees, managers or owners of Pizza Hut. They just found it amusing to see people be unhappy, uncomfortable and inconvenienced.
WHY? Why do people think such things are fun? Why is it funny to see someone slip on a banana peel and fall down? I never thought that was funny, even as a very little girl. "Why are people laughing when that man is crying?" I would ask. I never liked slapstick, and I have always hated Groucho Marx, whose humor is predicated on not merely mocking but humiliating and tormenting people who have done him no great wrong, who are simply weak or stupid or unattractive. I don't find such things funny; I find them despicable. I not only don't want to hang out with people who do such things, I also don't want to hang out with people who laugh when others do them.
And if that makes me a killjoy, so be it.