I am certain that if I moved to Seattle I would be an excellent writer. There is something about the pitter-patter and cup of black coffee that inspires me to open up a blank page and type.
This morning I woke up to a random email with the subject line: Hi Emily, Long Time No Talk. Curious, I opened it. It was Tom. He apologized for not being in touch lately, but wanted to know how I was doing. It turns out Tom wasn’t doing so well. He lost a lot of his investments while on vacation and didn’t have enough money to return back to the states. He asked if I could wire any funds via Western Union. “If you can’t help out with more, a thousand dollars would be really helpful so I can buy a plane ticket.”
Are you shitting me, Tom? First, I wish I had a thousand dollars so I could repair my damaged car. Second, the only friend I ever had named Tom was on social media. Yes, the one who had 75.9 million friends before they all ditched him for Mark (Zuckerberg).
I was shocked. Someone actually expends their energy in crafting these emails and takes the time to spam strangers with it. The more I thought about it, the angrier I got. Because this email landed in my inbox, it meant that these schemers must be successful. I guarantee you no one does this as a hobby. Then, going through my daily morning routine, I opened up the New York Times and came across this article titled Swindlers Target Older Women on Dating Websites. The article interviews the strangers who threw away their life savings because they were either too kind, too trusting, too naive, too much of a Good Samaritan. I felt sad when picturing these lonely, desperate women deceptively charmed because they were chasing the feeling of love and companionship.
I was once naive, but I will never have testimonies like these women. Even after being held up at gun point two times in my high school days, I still believed that everyone had a good heart. It wasn’t until the third time I was held up at gun point that I realized maybe people have to earn the label good-hearted.
As I grew older, I grew more cynical. I remember the other day I was walking around Little Tokyo and a well-dressed man came up to me and asked if he could borrow my phone to look up the name of the restaurant he was supposed to meet his friends at. His phone battery had died and he didn’t have access to his email, but knew it was in the vicinity. I thought about the many times my phone died and how I could have easily been in his shoes, but the cautious side of me replied, Sorry. I’m in a rush.
Then, another man crossing the intersection next to me told me I was beautiful and I had a nice purse. I could feel myself walking quicker and holding my purse tighter. “Do you want to have a drink with me at a bar?” Sorry. I’m in a rush.
I feel sad that I am so skeptical of people’s characters until they can prove that they are decent human beings. Maybe I fear more because I am a woman who can only lift 10 pound weights in each hand. My mentality has shifted from innocent until proven guilty to guilty until proven innocent. Maybe it’s because all the news reports are the rapists, the kidnappers, the sexual assaulters, the murderers.
Does anyone else feel this jaded about humanity?
P.S. – Woo! I am definitely moving to Seattle. Chris just asked if we should eat pho for dinner. It must be because it’s a rainy day!