Selfish - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
My sister has needs, many of them. For the most part I've always worked hard to make her happy, she's the older one and so my teenage idol in many ways. She did everything first, cut her own path, not listening to Mom or Dad one bit and I thought it was great. Now that we're adults though, our lives have separated in too many ways. I had kids and she didn't, I earn more and she bounces along on a string of jobs, none of them lasting more than a few months. After every break up she comes to my door, day or night, drunk. Between jobs she hits me up for cash, for groceries or rent. Then when she's flush again I never see a cent back, like I'm her personal ATM. I never minded too much, well not for a while, but when I needed her help she was never "available." No matter how desperate I was she had concert tickets, it was her friend's birthday, she was meeting a new boyfriend for beers. It breaks my heart to downgrade my expectations of her, but I don't want to end up bitter...
I don't think Clarissa ever meant to be selfish, I really don't. She was, of course, as self-centred as a child. For her the world that mattered stopped at the tip of her nose. I came to think of her as emotionally blind, she just couldn't see, couldn't empathize with what other people thought or felt. And isn't the unknown always a bit scary? She treated everyone like they were too frightening to get close to. She interacted of course, she laughed and joked, she would even make nice gestures from time to time. But ask her a personal question and she would recoil faster than a snapped high-tension spring. After that you'd be in her no-friend zone for a while, isolated until you learnt your lesson.
The chef examined the incoming ingredients. Damn suppliers- always trying to get one over on him. He turned the aubergines in his spade-like hands to look for the sallow brown spots, tossing his rejects into a separate bin with a grunt. Then he picked up the basil and looked at each leaf like an art appraiser, taking in the minutia of the details, sniffing a ripped leaf before chewing it. The truck driver scratched at his stubbled jowls and checked his phone for the time for the fifth time in two minutes. Claud continued, no faster, no slower. As far as the chef was concerned the "little man" could check the time a hundred times in his indiscreet way, huffing and puffing like the nuisance he was. Timetables were inconsequential to him unless it affected his opening times or wasted the time of his staff when they were on the clock.
You could call me “selfish” but I see it more as “honest.” No-one wants to give away the things they may need in the future. No-one wants to give up their day off to volunteer at a soup kitchen. They may need to do it to have that “good person” badge, but I just don't give a damn, not the way thy want me to anyway. I didn't create this world. I didn't make all the bad choices that lead the homeless to their life on the streets, no, they did that themselves. I didn't make the education system, shot-gun approach that it is. I didn't design the low-income housing system or raise the cost of energy and food. I didn't decide that society would judge people based on how much in taxes they could contribute. So I'm not taking on the guilt either. I am a good person, good to my friends, good to my Mom and Dad. I help my brother out and babysit my nephews. But my days off are for fun and my money is mine. I worked for it, no-one gave it to me. I'm not a trust-fund baby. Let Warren Buffet give,
There are family and there are “marks.” A cruel person wouldn't even make that distinction. That's not me though. I pride myself on my family ties. Blood before water. There are people out there that want to save the world, they feel guilty for every over-privileged breath they take. I'm just here to take them closer to those they pity but never actually help. Not that I'm saying they should, I don't. But once I'm gone with their life savings there's just one more bum on welfare to add to the uncounted masses of poor in the world. They mean as little to me as the famine and tsunami victims meant to them. Only difference is that they cry those crocodile tears and I don't. It's true I steal directly, but so do banks and somehow they aren't the bad guy. I'll have a string of fully paid for homes to rent out by the time I'm thirty, I'll be taking care of my Momma, my Dad, my wife and putting my kids though the finest schools. I don't shoot people for a pay-check. I sleep just fine.
I am selfish, but to me it's a form of pragmatism. If I am in a room with three chairs and three people, we all sit. If I am in a room with three chairs and five people, three will sit. If I am in a room with three chairs and two hundred people, I alone will sit. On the other two chairs will be my bags, my backside and my feet. I will save those seats in case a friend or family member needs them and to hell with the faceless two hundred. Perhaps that should fill me with guilt and shame, but it doesn't. We're the same beings we were thousands of years ago, evolved to live in small groups of kith and kin. We aren't wired to care about the masses, though our culture demands that we do. I'm not unkind, I don't hit puppies or lash out with cruel words. But this world is set up like the room with two hundred people and three chairs. It takes a billionaire to make any real difference. Wake me up when my meagre resources are more than a band-aid on a lost limb.
The phone buzzed in Michelle's pocket. Mom again. She was lonely since Dad died, always seeking company, asking for little favours that would draw her in for another "quick" visit. They were always an hour or more as she found yet another thing she needed to talk about. The shoe store loomed ahead, discounts on all that footwear she had forced herself to walk past all season long. Sales - the most beautiful word in the English language. She pulled out the phone and set it to silent. Mom wasn't ruining this for her. There was daughterly duty and then there was soft nubile Italian leather, no contest really. After two hours in the store she had spent nearly a thousand dollars, straight on her credit card of course. She turned over the bill in her head and dismissed it; she had all year to pay it off and perhaps with a few carefully placed hints Mom would pay anyway. She'd earned it lately. Two visits a week now! She checked her phone, twelve missed calls... from the hospital? What now?!
Sometimes I want to be selfish, is that so bad? I want to go to the expensive little coffee shop and blow ten bucks on a latte and cookie. I want to not answer the phone when my friend calls and then turn the ringer off. I want to watch my favourite movie on my own with a family sized bucket of popcorn. There are days I just can't care anymore, not with the media showing endless trauma and the internet trolls spewing out their special band of racist soul-poison. There are times I want to close right down, tell the world to go to hell and never open my heart again. I know I'm a special brand of freak, one with paper thin skin that won't stop dancing in the rain, propelled by an everlasting hope of seeing a rainbow, pot of gold not required. Maybe that kind of selfishness is needed from time to time, like the tortoise retreating into their shell, a time to heal the wounds made by the roughness of the world. Either way it happens and I can't change, too idealistic to stay hidden, too soft to stay in the open.