Opinions

The genetics of generosity

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I have a problem. It's one I'm sure I share with many other students. My car is nearly as old as I am and it runs as frequently as it doesn't. If you drive down Memorial Drive and see a sun-faded '85 Mustang with bald tires, odds are that's me, broken down, again.

And it's a safe bet that if you saw such a scene, you would drive on by, barely noticing my predicament. Most people did. Some offered their form of verbal assistance. Frazzled city core employees blasted their horns, thoughtfully alerting me that my car wasn't in motion. Ball-capped, Oakley-wearing youths helpfully hollered that I should get a horse. Why didn't they stop and help? Maybe they could've revived my battery, shared some water for a thirsty radiator, or just pushed the dead car off the road. I wasn't asking for much--even the offer of help would have been nice. But the only people who help are those who care, such as friends, or those who are paid to care, such as tow-services.

nbsp;   I have a problem. It's one I'm sure I share with many other students. My car is nearly as old as I am and it runs as frequently as it doesn't. If you drive down Memorial Drive and see a sun-faded '85 Mustang with bald tires, odds are that's me, broken down, again.

And it's a safe bet that if you saw such a scene, you would drive on by, barely noticing my predicament. Most people did. Some offered their form of verbal assistance. Frazzled city core employees blasted their horns, thoughtfully alerting me that my car wasn't in motion. Ball-capped, Oakley-wearing youths helpfully hollered that I should get a horse. Why didn't they stop and help? Maybe they could've revived my battery, shared some water for a thirsty radiator, or just pushed the dead car off the road. I wasn't asking for much--even the offer of help would have been nice. But the only people who help are those who care, such as friends, or those who are paid to care, such as tow-services.

From an evolutionary standpoint, maybe it makes sense to avoid people in trouble. They're your competition in the procreation battle; if they stay stuck, they're not off sowing their genetic oats. Then I could only expect men to ever help me, and women to ever help men. Or maybe women would never help men. A guy who can't even fix his own car isn't worth copulating with. Maybe rudeness is a dominant gene. Either way, those nice people who stop and help are just trying to get laid. Many men I know love showing off what they know about cars, even if it's just to other men. Being a young female, one would assume I'd be swamped with offers of help, but that has yet to happen. Apparently, no one wants to reproduce with me.

Now that I think of it, the one time someone did pull over, it was a middle-aged couple. They offered more assistance than the Alberta Motor Association, even pushing my immobile car across Memorial during rush-hour. They weren't helping with hopes of breeding with me, in fact, they drove a beater worse than mine. All they asked is that if I ever saw them on the side of the road, to be sure to lend a hand.

So, I guess what it takes is empathy. It takes an understanding of what it's like to have your tire blow out and your starter fail in the same day. People don't have time anymore; they're thinking about getting home from work or school, about relaxing after a crazy day. They're thinking about themselves, not anyone else. It's much easier to just continue driving past and forget the scene. Next time, though, try to imagine what it's like to be stalled and not have anyone stop. I'm not asking that you walk a mile in their shoes, but just take a few steps. Who knows, you might even get laid.

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