Today, I was coming up the escalators and someone was in front of me, dressed in an eclectic collection of frumpy, mix-matched clothing that looked tattered and ill-fitting. His shoes were cladded with mud - the kind that clumps together with bits of grass peeking through for air.
I stood behind the older man as the escalators ascended. Thankfully, I had kept a COVID safe distance as he soon began kicking and scrapping his shoes against the escalators, the mud flinging into the space behind him, bits of which came to just centimeters before me. I gagged silently.
I'm not quite sure why I didn't say anything - whether it was the fear that kept me from speaking up to an older, bigger man, the fact that I probably have social anxiety or the thought that he was just having a rough day and didn't need someone else bothering him.
I say this because I often fall back on the phrase 'if you don't heal, you'll bleed on someone who didn't cut you'. To me, it's the notion that if you jump into a new relationship before you've healed from your previous one, you'll end up projecting your ex's flaws onto your new partner. I think it applies to friendships in the same way and how I'd take my anger out on someone else even if I was made to be in a bad mood by a different person/reason. Either ways, an innocent bystander faces the wrath generated from someone else's actions.
I've done it a thousand times. To be honest, I'm probably guilty of doing this every other day, if not every day. I'd get pissy with my parents because I was stressed from work, or at my colleagues because someone screamed at me on the tube. I'd blame my boyfriend for not cleaning up while he was cooking because I was afraid of my flatmates blowing up at me whenever the kitchen wasn't spotless.
So maybe I just had sympathy for the dude. Maybe I could just relate. Maybe, I am someone else's old, dirty man, kicking the mud from my shoes at them without even meaning to.