Home Now

On my way home from work about an hour ago, a really weird thing happened to me.
I was sitting in traffic, waiting for a light to change, and I looked at the car to my right. The driver was a girl, probably in her early 20s, talking on a cell phone. She was crying, really hard, and seemed to be really frustrated with the person on the other end of the line.
As I watched her, I noticed something: we were separated by only a few feet, but we were completely isolated from each other in our cars. Different cars, different clothes, different ages, different music on our radios (unless she was listening to Return of Saturn also)…just looking at her, I couldn’t tell if we would have had anything in common, other than our basic humanity.
I watched her, and I began to feel really badly for her. Just by watching her, I could feel her frustration with the person on the other end of the line, and it made me really sad, and I began to cry.
I cried, really hard, for close to 5 minutes, because of a person who I have never seen before, and will probably never see again.
I thought about what a metaphor that was for life, and the way we all deal with one another. We move through our lives, passing closely to hundreds of people each day, and we’re total strangers to each other. We keep our heads down, averting our eyes, rarely looking up to say hello to a stranger in the hallway. Even in our own families we isolate ourselves in our metaphorical cars, and stay in our own metaphorical lanes.
I wonder how different the world would be if we made an effort to roll down our metaphorical windows and say hello more often.

174 thoughts on “Home Now”

  1. Man…that’s deep…wow…I hate you Will! You made me get that odd…unknowing empty thinking feeling, like when you KNOW you forgot something you just don’t know WHAT! Damn you Will Wheaton…Damn you…

  2. Damn, Wil Wheaton. You really are one cool cat.
    Living here in L.A. can be really distressing and disturbing in that we are all packed in our little bubbles going to and fro our destinations completely oblivious to the people in the other bubbles. Some jerks even go so far as to attempt to push others out of their way in an attempt to get to their oh-so-important places.
    This is one of the reasons I’ve decided I really should leave the entertainment industry – there seem to be a great number of these insensitive cads out there who are only looking out for Number One (not Will Riker).
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts like you do – and thanks for putting out that good energy here in Southern California. “Every little counts.”

  3. This is the first time I’ve ever posted here, but Wil’s post about the girl really moved me. I was surprised to find out, 2 nights ago, that even in New York City, people aren’t as isolated and aloof as I thought.
    I had had a really, really bad night, and I just sort of lost it while waiting for my train in Grand Central Station. When I finally boarded the train, I found a seat way in the back, where hopefully nobody would see me cry. I figured nobody would care anyway, but I was still embarrassed.
    So there I am, sobbing on the metro north train to CT, thinking that nobody cares and everybody on the train were heartless Wall Street types, when all of a sudden, people seemed to care. No less than 3 passengers asked me if I needed help, needed to use a cell phone or just to talk, and the ticket guy told me to just find him if I needed anything at all. How wonderful is that? I was sitting there, thinking how awful everything was, and even in the most anonymous city in the world, people reached out to me. It really gave me more faith in people.

  4. Wil,
    You know I was thinking about this post, and although it’s a few days later, I wanted to share something with you.
    For a second I put myself in that girls shoes. I imagined that my girlfriend called and complained about that thing that’s been bothering us for awhile (fictional of course). I imagined that my dad called and told me that my niece was hurt falling down the stairs. I imagined that my asshole boss called my cellphone to bitch about something I wasn’t even working on…
    Now in some of those situations it would be nice if someone just asked, “Hey, is everything okay”? But imagine that if something was so personal or so upsetting that even the thought of someone having the nerve to get into your horrible, personal drama. Imagine being in a place you think you are alone and safe and then someone coming and asking if your okay with your wife leaving you over the phone.
    It’s interesting how we can sometimes feel that rolling down that window could make someone’s day and not think about whether or not its right.
    Thanks for letting me post this Wil. Even though this may sound like a mean comment, I understand what you mean. It’s hard being a good guy sometimes. No. It’s hard being a good guy all of the time.

  5. Don’t you hate when you read up a few posts and find almost exactly what you just wrote?

  6. You’ve got a heart. I’ve only looked at this site a few times and I think I’ll be looking more often. I think if I had been you, I would have rolled down my window and yelled to the girl if she was ok. I think it’s cool that you had a heart to realize this. Kudos for you, man. 😀

  7. Pavegirl said: get over the peace love and Beatles
    Pavegirl, I beleive YOU need some peace love and
    “Beatles crap”.
    Thank you very much.
    (and yes I know that lyrics above is not the
    Beatles..but same thought.

  8. Wil,
    I am sorry that I am posting about this entry until now but,
    This was a very emotional entry I have read. I think that you showing your sensitive side, is wonderful. About reading about Justin’s post on how its hard being a “good guy” I really dont think that you are a “monster” at all. Yes, people have there bad days, and Yes, You may get angry at things. But it seems like you are a kind hearted soul, and care about things. And that makes you a good guy all around! :)
    P.S. You truly are a star Wil!

  9. Wil wrote:
    “You know what I like the most about my website?
    Being judged by people.
    That rules.”
    Maia responded:
    “Honey – you’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t. there will always be asswipes, don’t let them get to you.”
    Oh pa-leeez! EVERYONE judges people. It doesn’t matter who you are, and if you say you don’t you’re a liar. Even Wil judges people, maybe not intentionally, but he does. Need proof? Just visit his activism page. If you own a gun, vote Republican, or you are involved in any way with corporate capitalism, he LOATHES you. You probably hate people who dress differently than you, or people who don’t watch Friends and think it sucks, or maybe it’s the people who don’t cry at the drop of a hat. So before you go throwing stones at people who don’t share your opinion, take a good look at yourself, grow up, and stop pretending that you’re better than everyone else.

  10. It’s absolutely wonderful that you can think like that, Wil. Thousands of people go through life every day, thinking only of themselves, and that’s sad.
    For even caring about that girl makes you a great guy. Thanks for making me think.

  11. 2-nite, my 1st earnie comment opportunity: The stranger crying in the car epilogue–crying is a veritable part of my life, everyday i allow myself beautiful, unspeakable, inside (and outside) tears; the grief is like a companion right here beside me, not to be distanced, but welcomed as a love; how grateful i am for your sharing the experience with me; this thank you surrounds us–my most tender offering this late hour.

  12. Oh goodness…I cant believe my lucky stars. I just got my net service back and what do I stumble apon? A Wil Wheaton weblog. You have been on my mind for SO long you have NO idea, I mean EVERY TIME I hear that “Tainted Love” song by soft cell I remember the times I went looking for info on you way back in the early 90’s just to see how you were getting along. I read that you liked Soft Cell, thats why the song referrence. Then time passed and I stopped checking and other stuff happened…and here we are again, reading your stuff, the article said you wanted to be a writer, so do I. Ive written stories and given them to my friends to read, my writing teacher didnt like them too much though. I hope youre well and happy, and THANK YOU for sharing your life with us. “Ants marching”-DMB ’95…Ill never forget you. Love, Susan. Seattle.

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