When I go to get my hair done. It takes a while. I have very curly hair that I, at times, straighten. I have very dark hair for which I get highlights. This all takes time. A lot of time. I get to sit in the salon with my two phones and laptop and work while I nap and, ostensibly, get a head massage. It’s nice. While I do all these things, I also hang out and talk pop culture, social norms and the like with the hairstylists. It’s interesting insight into what people are thinking -well, rather, what people outside my work and friendship circles are thinking. I’d like to note this is one reason I knew Trump would win even when many discounted my prediction.
As my hairstylist was shampooing my hair, several of us started talking about train violence. To me, there’s been an increase and other’s felt similarly. I most certainly have held onto my pepper spray on several occasions. Then we started that Kitty Genovese conversation. No, this is not a recent story about said woman. But psychologists know this name quite well. Many decades ago a horrific murder occurred showcasing the concept of diffusion of responsibility.
Late one night in March 1964, Kitty Genovese was stabbed outside an apartment building across the street from where she lived. She repeatedly screamed for help. Many looked out their windows. No one helped. Some believed others were calling the cops or would help. But none did. She died. Society had supposedly learned its lesson.
Fast forward to my hair salon conversation. We were talking about safety. I then mentioned an incident I witnessed this past week. This woman haf a bicycle on the train. She got up at a particular stop and it looked like she was going to try to get off the train. But she was struggling or so it seemed. A man got up to help her and tried to keep the door open so that shd could exit the train. But she didn’t seem to be in a hurry and showed no forward movement. So, after keeping the doors open three times, the guy sat back down. Then the woman lost it. She started screaming at him, calling him a bozo for not helping her. She then pulled out a baton. I grabbed for my pepper spray.
Everything eventually calmed down. But that’s not the point of this story. The point is that my hairstylists all agreed that the man should never have tried to help the woman out. They all agreed its better to put one’s head down and keep it that way. Yikes.
It’s a topsy turvy, rickety world.