So, I headed into work today (before sunrise as per usual) and as I got uptown, saw a 'baglady' pushing her shopping cart down a hil that I was going up. She hollered over to me "Merry Christmas, Happy New Year". I laughed and shouted back, " Happy Chanukah", and she laughed back.
I'd seen the woman before and knew that she wasn't all that 'reality based', but she was a harmless soul and generally happy.
So then I get up to the coffee shop to pick up my coffee and muffin for work. I turn around to leave and there are two gaunt, haggard-looking women counting change between them. One of their faces seemed particularly drawn, scarred by weariness and haphazardly applied make-up. My first and lasting impression was that these two were street walkers, trying to get their caffeine fix for the morning. My mind just jumped to how hard a life this woman had had/was having.
The rest of the way to work, I felt very hurt by my perception of her painful circumstances. I fought tears the rest of the way to work. I felt foolish for it, broken by it.
I've felt the same way in the past when I've seen homeless people sleeping in bank ATM nooks in the winter. It's not that I shouldn't feel bad for people in those straits when I see them (and help them when I can) it's the f'n intensity that I feel it.
Guess what I'm wondering is, is it abnormal for a grown man to feel this strongly for others? Does it point to something else? Do others take on other's pain or perceived pain in that way, and is it f'd up to do so? \
Any ideas from others who have any knowledge in this regard would be appreciated.