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ę Now I'm pissed | Main | The Trade Ľ

May 07, 2002

Home Now

On my way home from work about an hour ago, a really weird thing happened to me.

I was sitting in traffic, waiting for a light to change, and I looked at the car to my right. The driver was a girl, probably in her early 20s, talking on a cell phone. She was crying, really hard, and seemed to be really frustrated with the person on the other end of the line.

As I watched her, I noticed something: we were separated by only a few feet, but we were completely isolated from each other in our cars. Different cars, different clothes, different ages, different music on our radios (unless she was listening to Return of Saturn also)...just looking at her, I couldn't tell if we would have had anything in common, other than our basic humanity.

I watched her, and I began to feel really badly for her. Just by watching her, I could feel her frustration with the person on the other end of the line, and it made me really sad, and I began to cry.

I cried, really hard, for close to 5 minutes, because of a person who I have never seen before, and will probably never see again.

I thought about what a metaphor that was for life, and the way we all deal with one another. We move through our lives, passing closely to hundreds of people each day, and we're total strangers to each other. We keep our heads down, averting our eyes, rarely looking up to say hello to a stranger in the hallway. Even in our own families we isolate ourselves in our metaphorical cars, and stay in our own metaphorical lanes.

I wonder how different the world would be if we made an effort to roll down our metaphorical windows and say hello more often.

Posted by wil at May 7, 2002 07:16 PM
Comments

First i cried. Then Lisa cried. Then Maggie laughed. She's such a little trooper.

Posted by: Colin at May 7, 2002 07:19 PM

It's hard to roll that window down when you have no idea if the person you want to say hello to will be receptive or will flip you off -- or worse. And it really varies from place to place; when we lived in ND my son could open doors for women and they'd thank him appreciatively. We get to CA and he does it -- his thanks is invariably a cold stare, sneer, or a verbal "I can open my own damn door."

Most people are very nice people... but you simply never know the reaction you'll get. I'm a different person here in CA than I was in ND or how I'll be in the midwest. Here I'm guarded; there I'll be more open. Sad? Sure. It's just experience tell me there are some places I need to be more wary.

In an ideal world you would have been able to not only open your window and say hello to the girl who was crying, but could have offered comfort without the fear that she'd be terrified you were after something else. I don't think that world has existed since I was a very, very young child.

Posted by: Thumper at May 7, 2002 07:27 PM

[rolling down car window] Hello!

Posted by: MaggieL at May 7, 2002 07:27 PM

What a touching story. One of the many reasons I keep coming back to your website. Your entries are beautiful. I hope that girl who was crying had someone in her life like you to tell her everything is going to be ok. I don't like to see others hurt either.

Posted by: Lara at May 7, 2002 07:36 PM

I have to agree with Thumper, but only to a point. We should "roll down our windows" not for the people we reach out to, but for ourselves. To close yourself off from others, even unappreciative others, is to lose something of yourself to the cynical world we live in. I hope you never lose that compassion and desire to reach out, Wil. Better to be rebuffed in the effort than to lose the desire to connect.

Or maybe I'm just too Canadian for my own good!

Posted by: Bagelcat at May 7, 2002 07:40 PM

Try and un-learn whatever it is that makes your start in the up position.

I dare you.

Posted by: Roughy at May 7, 2002 07:41 PM

I think it might have something to do with that. Never talk to strangers crap our parents feed you when you are 10 years old. After that talking to anyone you walk by or just meet is not very easy to do.

Ok so maybe parents telling kids not to talk to strangers isn't crap, but still it doesn't help for this topic.

Posted by: Trumpett at May 7, 2002 07:41 PM

Makes your *window* start in the up position, that is.

I still dare you.

Posted by: Roughy at May 7, 2002 07:42 PM

Good for you, Wil!!! Lately, it seems that so few people notice anything about the world around them. It's very refreshing to know that even a "celebrity"(which you are, like it or not") notices the people sharing his space.

Posted by: shauna at May 7, 2002 07:42 PM


Hi!

Posted by: Kyrandos at May 7, 2002 07:42 PM

What goes around comes around!

I am a firm believer in the golden rule, do unto others as you would have them do to you.

Especially when on vacation, odds are that I will never see the people I meet ever again. But I treat the "strangers" I meet with kindness. And last year when I did happen to run into the same family a second time, it made for one of the funnest moments of my trip!

A stranger is usually just a friend you haven't met yet!

Posted by: Keith in Montana at May 7, 2002 07:45 PM

I think this place needs alot more people like you however, most people choose to turn away saying "It's not my business". Really too bad. I dunno, maybe you're just a sucker for a crying woman like my husband... crying always works! Rhonda

Posted by: Rhonda at May 7, 2002 07:48 PM

hey wil, I'm a bit concerned about your mental state.. I mean, it's good that you care and you're empathetic, I'm just concerned because you're crying really easily lately

Posted by: t at May 7, 2002 07:49 PM

Wow, to say I know exactly what you mean would be putting it mildly. I am at a loss for words at the moment which is pretty rare! I just hope I never lose that part of me that reacts the way you did today!

Posted by: NephraTari at May 7, 2002 07:49 PM

Hey, "t"...

Just curious, but what's your basis on how easily Wil's crying lately?

Let's not forget that 'blogs are merely a tiny, tiny little slice of someone's life.

He may bawl like a little bitch day-in and day-out for all I know.

So, you know, don't be so quick to judge unless you're prepared to be judged yourself.

I swear to God he was just trying to say "here's an example of something, let's all try to do good", not "I'm a big crying person."

Eh, wtf do I know.

Posted by: Roughy at May 7, 2002 07:53 PM

it's called compassion. i don't know how practical it is to roll down the window in that situation, but thinking about the meaning of that incident is what leads to the cultivation of a compassionate outlook. i think we all have these little buddhist moments and don't spend enough time thinking about what they mean with regard to our common humanity.

Posted by: c-dog at May 7, 2002 07:56 PM

This is probably gonna sound stupid but I know what you mean. I know I am probably suppose to say more but thats all I can say.

Posted by: Patricia at May 7, 2002 07:56 PM

Hey Wil,

Do you censor posts in this forum?

Just curious.

Thanks.

Posted by: Steve at May 7, 2002 07:58 PM

I have an overwhelming urge to have a heart to heart with my 17 year old daughter.

Posted by: fenaray at May 7, 2002 08:01 PM

Hello, Television's Wil Wheaton.

Posted by: Spudnuts at May 7, 2002 08:08 PM

Dang.

Your castmates from "Stand by Me" were right.

You DO cry a lot.

Posted by: Spudnuts at May 7, 2002 08:09 PM

I used to believe the world revolved around me. I know, I know, pretty selfish, but the way I thought. I continued to get my feelings hurt by people I didn't know when I tried to be friendly. I thought for certain it was because there was something wrong with me. As I got older, I realized that I was too sensitive. People have problems that are beyond the control of others and therefore, it wasn't me (well, not always). I think it is important to smile, or say "hello" to people, it may be the only bright spot in their shitty day. If they don't respond, at least you tried.

Posted by: alexa at May 7, 2002 08:09 PM

I definatley feel what you mean. It is hard for me to deal with how people are sometimes. I come from a military family who moved around alot so I didn't get a chance to develope social skills and thinking skills when dealing with people. Even though I am in my midtwenties I feel like I am playing caught up in a world that doesn't accept people who didn't learn earlier. Luckily I have my hubby who helps me to learn stuff. I have some great friends who I learn abit of stuff. I never can be a manipulator nor do I want to be. I hate that fact that my husbands family thrives on a social status thing. I had to go to a third cousins fiancees wedding shower because I was getting married and if I wanted them to do the same for me...blah blah blah. I totally hate that game. Social clicks. I just want to be honest and nice ole me and not have to be garded with my feelings and thoughts because certain people will use me for a doormat. It is sad that because there are people out there who like being cruel that we have to build these masks which end up starving us of human sunlight. I want to be weird and not have to worry about it handycapping me in the world because people say so. Anyways Wil your cool. You are a beautiful person who is one of the lucky ones to think and say the things you do.

Posted by: Artisticspirit at May 7, 2002 08:10 PM

maybe it's just the cynical cold hearted bitch in me, but all i could think when i read your post, and not to belittle your good intentions, but all i could think was, "i don't have time for that, nor do i *want* to make time for that."

maybe i'm what's wrong? i'll be the first to admit it.

Posted by: pavegirl at May 7, 2002 08:11 PM

I guess I'm incredibly lucky. Today, my four year old held a door open for a lady, and said, 'Hello lady, how are you?'. All done by her own will.
And by the way, "Hi everyone, I'm Annessa. Here's hoping your day/evening/morning/dead of night only gets better from here on out."

Posted by: annessa at May 7, 2002 08:12 PM

Now I feel bad, since the first thing that came to my mind during those first paragraphs was: why is this woman _driving a car_ while she's not only on the phone, but having an emotionally charged conversation. It seems like an accident waiting to happen. (How many have looked in the rear view mirror at a light and wondered if the person screaming on the phone behind you was actually going to stop?) So I thought Wil was going to go off on that and I would go "YEAH WIL!"
Then he gets all philisophical on me and... ah shucks, now I'm crying too. :) "I forgive you for driving while talking on the phone, lady. Wherever you are. (This time)"

Posted by: Jeff at May 7, 2002 08:12 PM

spudnuts!

It would be different, but it ain't gonna happen.

Posted by: JenniferInLubbock at May 7, 2002 08:12 PM

Wil, empathy doesn't care whether you know the person. She was broadcasting it; you were picking it up. My theory is it's not unrelated to your acting talent. That openness is a gift, but a dangerous one; time to grow some filters (not shields in this case) so you can feel others' pain without being overwhelmed by it.

Hmm, you think maybe I've been there? Clue? :-)

The other thing I want to tell you is this: you helped her. Even if she didn't even notice you at all, you took part of her pain. Risky, possibly bad for you, but I'd almost guarantee her pain was lessened. (And I'm pro-crying: salt water cleanses the spirit, even if it's coming from your own eyes.)

Posted by: Xopher at May 7, 2002 08:14 PM

Uh Dood,
it's like you're humanity is showing.
Here's to you amigo,
I hope that someday everyone will share your sense
of responsibility and compassion.
*klinks Glass*
Mozzletov!

Posted by: Xero at May 7, 2002 08:15 PM

Seriously, I thought this was Mark Hamil's website.

Where's that t-shirt I ordered, and can you help get my account removed from WPI*IFRIENDS?

I like snacks.

Posted by: Roughy at May 7, 2002 08:19 PM

You just never know what your actions will bring.

My company does IT work for various large entities in the NE Ohio area. For a year and a half I was at the Cleveland Clinic. (where the king of the United Arab Emerites come to get medical care). When the king, his entourage (including about 9-12 wives), and his money come to town I was especially careful to convey a good image of my company.

Long story short... I held the door open for some of the females (read: muslim) that traveled with him. They would not walk through the door! I ended up feeling bad because I put them in an awkward situation where men never treat them like that.

It is tough to be open to people. While I was in high school my parents owned a drive thru (place to drive your car through to get beer/wine/lotto/chips/etc for those whose states don't have them). We would have a few ladies (who were regulars) who got perms and they looked younger. Most of the gals liked to be told they look younger, but some took offense.

It is getting harder and harder just to pay a simple compliment in this "sue happy" world. Most women (I can't speak about guys since I never compliment them on their looks) love compliments or when you open the door for them BUT it is the ones who don't who cause quite a few otherwise "decent" males to stop "using the manners their mother taught them".

I still use the manners while I am at work EXCEPT for with the high profile female secretaries/execs. It is my experience that women of "power" are usually where you are most likely to strike the wrong chord.

Forgive my babbling... it is just that an everyday part of my job is representing my company in a positive light to the workers of another company. I have spent years working around thousands of different personalities (rich/poor/powerful/famous/average/etc) and I still learn something new about people every day.

Jason

ps: Just be nice!

Posted by: Jason at May 7, 2002 08:20 PM

Insert ironic non sequitur here.

Posted by: Rob Matsushita at May 7, 2002 08:23 PM

Hello,

Cubicles, cars, rooms. We all seem to be secreting ourselves away from each other. It's a very curious phenomenon. Perhaps, partially, it is my rejection of this isolation that I am joining an Old Order Amish Community. I spent the weekend with Amish friends. I'm learning some new skills. Sunday morning I drove the horse and surrey to church. I've enjoyed this site but I won't be on much longer. Once I move to the farm I'm buying I won't be having a computer, anymore. Actually, I won't be having electricity, anymore. Anyway, it's my way of slowing down. Reaching out and touching others. Living a lifestyle I have always admired. And most of all, walking a walk with God that I think will help me to grow spiritually. Goodnight!

Posted by: Mark at May 7, 2002 08:24 PM

Hey, Wil,

I know exactly what you mean. As part of my studies for a Master's in Teaching, I've been taking a class about how to deal with the societal/emotional/etc. barriers between instructor and student. Part of what we studied is the fact that people can never really KNOW other people. We don't have telepathy and everything we see is filtered through our perceptions and understood by our own isolated mind. People can be seen as prisoners within their own minds and it can be frustrating to not be able to make the connection with someone else.
It's a really sad thing and I understand why you cried. Don't worry about the macho jerks who might say something about it. They are just trying to compensate for their Howard Stern-sized winkies.

Posted by: Mike at May 7, 2002 08:24 PM

d00d!

You like cars, too? I like NASCAR (TM)! I love LA--I love it!

I was wondering if I could stop over for a soda sometime, or maybe go skateboarding with you and trade NASCAR (TM) trading cards with the Fleer pink stick bubble gum that has the dry white powdery stuff on it?! YUMMI!

Do you still talk to the Coreys? I just loved that "Licensed to Drive" movie...they were so great in there...it's a shame you weren't in it. I always wondered if you hung out on the set with them.

Like, totally.

Hey, do you still have those "Party Naked" jeans?

w00t!

*Python rawked, by the way!

Posted by: Roughy at May 7, 2002 08:28 PM

That seems to happen to me too much. Sombody once called it empathy. I don't know man, I don't think I can read minds. ;) Well I guess it is good to know that I am not the only person in the world who thinks of other people.

Posted by: Eli at May 7, 2002 08:29 PM

Eli, the mindreading part comes later! Reading feelings is easier; in fact IMHO it's something we're born with and have beaten out of us during our lives...other people's feelings can be scary, especially when you're a small child and adult feelings don't make any sense to your mind, or find any way to realize into your preadolescent body...but I'm getting to the point where this should go in the Spirituality thread...

Posted by: Xopher at May 7, 2002 08:33 PM

that roughy guy is a meany

Posted by: jbay at May 7, 2002 08:51 PM

There are clinics you can go to if your testosterone is running a little low.

Posted by: Stundups at May 7, 2002 08:51 PM

I really don't understand how some of you can be so judgemental. Have you ever heard."If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all?" You are in Wil's space, if you don't agree with things he says or does that are not directed at YOU...why not just keep quiet...or stop reading...stop coming here?!?

Plus I just found this: "How often and why do people cry?

Most people shed tears more often than we would think. Thanks to William Frey, who had subjects keep "tear diaries" during a study conducted at the Dry Eye and Tear Research Center, a pattern emerges:
Sadness accounts for 49% of tears;
Happiness, 21%;
Anger, 10%
Sympathy, 7%
Anxiety 5%
Fear 4%
But even these statistics do not tell the whole story. Tears, it seems, reflect our very humanity. One man, a driven and successful executive, finds that he breaks into tears on the subway while reading about the debilitating poverty of a homeless woman with four children. One woman, a high-powered attorney in Chicago, weeps whenever she hears a Mozart concerto."

"What if you canít cry?

Since more and more research is giving credibility to the idea that good health is strongly connected to the shedding of tears, those who are unable to cry should try to get in touch with their deepest emotions.
For some this may mean therapy. One woman, normally a noncrier who grew up in a family where keeping a stiff upper lip was the rule, found herself crying deeply almost every time she met with her therapist. "There had been latent feelings bottled inside me for years," she says. "After every teary session I felt better."

Most people, however, find the tears flowing when they read a touching story or have thoughts of past sadness."

Posted by: Jewels at May 7, 2002 08:54 PM

which one do you use?

Posted by: jbay at May 7, 2002 08:54 PM

This is just like something that happened to me today. I read someone's blog, and it was about them seeing someone crying, and then they cried, and I was so touched that I cried. Then my boss came over to see what I was crying about, and I showed him, and he cried. Then I cried some more because he was crying. Then the sandwich shop guy came in with our orders and he stood on my toe, and I cried even harder. Then he started crying. Then we all cried so hard that my computer shorted out from the tears. The tech support guy came down to fix it and started crying, and I felt so bad for him that I cried again. And my boss cried because of the expense. And the sandwich shop guy cried because he wouldn't get paid.

I'm so sensitive.

Posted by: Matt at May 7, 2002 08:55 PM

I just skimmed the other responses and I didn't notice anyone mention how many times I have read your journal and laughed and cried (well, just got a bit teary-eyed...i'm a tough guy:) because I could feel the emotion pouring out of you. Ever since my daughter was born, I am much more sensitive to other people's emotions. I have had the exact same experience. I have seen a complete stranger break down and I just couldn't help myself. I cried for them.

Posted by: Mark at May 7, 2002 08:56 PM

Wil, don't take this as any fan or anything, but you continue to amaze me. The emotion you express, the tiniest things that you realize, it seems like you are in tune with something that the rest of us seem to pass up. I hope you realize what an incredible gift you have.

Posted by: Pmacca01 at May 7, 2002 09:00 PM

I like the way he's not afraid to drop trow and moon Frakes any day of the week.

Posted by: Roughy at May 7, 2002 09:04 PM

Really, Roughy? I haven't noticed. ;)

Posted by: Pmacca01 at May 7, 2002 09:06 PM

I rarely comment unless its on things that I can relate to. And know exactly where you are coming from Wil. Something like that always gets to me and I feel the pain of the person that is going through the personal hell of whatever it is. I want to reach out to them and say it will be ok, but whos to say it really will and then there's that barrier thats always holding you back, as if to say you can't do that. That wouldn't be right. But whos to say its right or not? You want to comfort that person in their time of pain, take it away from them if at all possible. But society today has made us shy away from that unless its someone you know and even then, you still shut a part of yourself away. We have to face society nose to nose and tell it off. We can't be scared all the time to show our emotions. Some of the people I know call me sensitive and emotional, but its just the way I am. I finally opened my door and began helping people. I started slow with a couple people online, but its a start. And believe it or not, they are fast becoming some of my closest friends. So you never know what might happen when you reach out and open that window. Sorry if I rambled. =)

PS. Unrelated, but wanted to know how is Silent Hill 2 compared to 1?

Posted by: Melissa at May 7, 2002 09:10 PM

First off, I congratulate you on your compassionate instincts and good-hearted assumptions. But what if she was crying because her married boyfriend decided to go back to his wife and kids?

Chances are that you are probably in the right here, and I agree that we'd all be better off if we did what you'd say, but prepare for the odd disappointment. One of the reasons we don't give more often in the way you indicate is that we get burned. If you can handle that, then you're probably better than most of us.

Posted by: synchronicity at May 7, 2002 09:10 PM

Wow another theme that relates exactly to my life. Today was the first day in a long time I have cried in public. It all started cuz I have been very lonely lately and just want someone to talk to. I phoned my boss and asked him when he would help me fix the leak in my sink. He was abrupt and didn't want to talk. I called my best friend when he got off work and I started chit chatting and he pretty much told me he doesn't care. I got so mad and frustrated that I blanked out and threw the phone at the wall. Now I have a broken phone, and a dent in my wall. which sucks cuz my landlord is gonna throw a hissy fit and I will have to tell him and my mom (she is coming here to move the rest of her stuff out this weekend) the truth about what happened, cuz I am all about the truth even if it makes me look bad. I walked to the nearest pay phone to phone my boss back and ask to borrow a phone. On my way home I burst into tears and couldn't even see where I was walking. Yes I am a pathetic human being. Sad thing is writing this all down here sometimes helps although nobody reads it and cares. I could use a few people to roll down the window and say hello.

Posted by: fallulah at May 7, 2002 09:13 PM

Synchronicity, Wil was right even if she was crying for a stupid reason, or because some unethical thing she was doing was failing to work out. When ten guys with stab wounds get wheeled into the ER, do the doctors ask "who started it?" They don't. They treat them all, regardless of the color of their shirts or (we hope) skin.

The task of a healer is to heal. The task of a judge is to judge. One cannot act in both these roles simultaneously.

Posted by: Xopher at May 7, 2002 09:17 PM

Quite the emotional roller-coaster you've been riding as of late.

First, losing your funny a little while back.

Then later, the Enron pisstivity.

Now, a dam-burst of existential sensitivity.

What's been going on in your life lately that we're not privy to? It seems like there's some underlying stuff that's coming to the surface...and it seems like you're slowly but surely letting it bubble to the surface.

Then again....I'm totally lame and a dork so what do I know.

Damn my social-work background...damn it to hell!

:)

Peace.

Posted by: thebrett at May 7, 2002 09:18 PM

One of the best examples i've ever seen of "rolling down the window" was at my school. A girl was walking in the hallway between classes, crying with mascara running all down her face, everyone giving her sneers or pity stares, and then this one teacher (one of my favourites) walks up with a sheepish kind of look on his face and hands her a tissue, not asking anything or judging, just giving a tissue. That gesture shocked me, i don't know why, just the simplicity of it.

Posted by: Other Lara at May 7, 2002 09:20 PM

You know, what you say about Wil's company...

...is, I think, what you say about society.

So, y'know. watch the witness, catch the wit, catch the spirit, catch the spit.

The world is...the world is...

Um...Love and life are deep, maybe...oh, as his skies are wide.

So, in conclusion, exit the warrior, today's Wil Wheaton.

He gets high on you.

AND the energy you trade.

Then he gets right on to the friction of the day.

Amen.

Brah.

Posted by: Rob Matsushita at May 7, 2002 09:21 PM

I'm glad some of you get it.

I'm truly sorry for the rest.

Bummer.

Posted by: wil at May 7, 2002 09:21 PM

Who are the 'rest', Wil? Probably a stupid question.

Posted by: Pmacca01 at May 7, 2002 09:24 PM

Pay no attention to the post behind this one.

Posted by: Pmacca01 at May 7, 2002 09:24 PM

Hey Wil. I think it's really cool that such an epiphany came to you at a very random moment. Perhaps the girl WAS listening to "Return of Saturn" also. I know if I was listening to "Simple Kind of Life", I might be inclined to cry too.

Posted by: Charles Kim at May 7, 2002 09:29 PM

Man I know how that goes. A few years ago I was walking around campus at school and there was a girl that I didnt know, and she was crying and crying, but I didn't know why. I felt sort of bad for her, but didn't think much of it. Then, later, when I got home, I just started bailing really hard for at least fifteen minutes, because of this girl I didnt know. sympathy is alive.

Posted by: danman at May 7, 2002 09:32 PM

I think your website is the 'rolled down window'. Thanks for caring enough to extend your energies and creativity to your fellow netizens, and for letting share a little of each others lives. Life in this world is difficult enough, if we don't help each other, in our most dire times of need, then we don't deserve to be here. Generosity is a cornerstone of a spiritual life.

Posted by: Nightfly at May 7, 2002 09:36 PM

Annessa's story above made me think about kids, in relation to Wil's story today. Kids are a whole lot more willing to roll down that window and say "Hey" to people.

I know, we advocate "Do not talk to strangers", but kids are just plain friendly. They don't put up walls, they don't judge. They think everyone is their friend, and wants to share cookies with them. Seeing the world with eyes wide open, ready for a new fresh experience.

One of the first lessons I learned in Film school was to learn to see the world through the eyes of a child. Try to see it as fresh and new and exciting. This lesson has proven useful through my life as well.

Posted by: Courtney at May 7, 2002 10:03 PM

Wil you have just put into words the exact reason why I post so much personal stuff on the box.

I had been walking around trying not to see or feel the pain of my fellow man. I had been trying to hide my pain and feelings as well.

A few years back I was in New York on The Eve of New Years. I was going through some tough shit. I was in hell. I wanted to scream for help. I wanted someone, anyone to to understand what was happening to me. I cried through the streets of New York and no one even glanced my way. They didn't care about me or my little life. They were in their own little castles of the mind. I wonder how many of them were suffereing. Needing human contact. someone to tell them it would be okay. I was so alone in that crowd of people. I felt more alone then, than I ever have by myself. Planets never connecting, just orbiting around one another. It's things like this that make me stop and ask how a stranger is doing or invite that loney old lady to my table when I'm having dinner in a resturant. I try to interact with people more, because you never know when that one little slip of kindness might make a difference. You never know when It might save someone's life. I nearly threw away my life that night. I had no one to tell me to hang on, that things would eventually get better. I think of that when I see the said legion of faces on the street each day. Which one of these people has given up hope. Which one has lost the will to struggle with the mundane facts of living. I've learned to try and be more understanding with peoples mistakes and flaws. You never know what got them to that level. That moment when you allowed yourself to feel that womans pain is so important to remember in our daily lives. What can I do to help people who are suffering? I can't approach evey stranger. So we must start withen our own lives. Pay attention to the people around you. Are they really okay? Are they on the verge of breaking down? We must first open ourselves up to people before we can begin to see that they have opened themselves up to us. Less Judgement more understanding. Less isolation, more giving and taking. That is truly the only way. Thanks Wil once agian you have opened up my own little window of understanding.

Posted by: Stargazer at May 7, 2002 10:14 PM

Wil and everyone else here,

I just wanted to say that I have always found that I go through periods of hightened sensitivity to my environment and my feelings in response to it.

Lately I have been feeling extra sensitive to these sorts of things and have found myself on the verge of (or in) tears on many occasions.

Just reading something that strikes me as particularly beautiful or touching, seeing something that makes me think about how privlidged I am or just getting lost in my own thoughts has been enough to set me off recently.

Unlike you I have felt sort of silly about these feelings and haven't shared them very openly with anyone.

I commend you for your fearlessness.

Your message and the warm responses have really made me realize how many other people feel this way.

It is nice to know. I don't feel so silly about my hightened empathy now.

Posted by: Haley Comet at May 7, 2002 10:14 PM

I'm a pessimist. If I could afford bullet proof glass, I'd have it installed.

Posted by: Fred Fowler at May 7, 2002 10:35 PM

What a cool post. Yes, we all need to let down our windows and let others in and let ourselves out.

A really fine example of this is in clean up in aisle six. I found this on one of my favorite journals tonight and it brought tears to my eyes.

*crosses fingers that link appears the right way*

Posted by: Pegasong at May 7, 2002 10:49 PM

freak. Didn't show up..... so here ya go the other way......

http://www.sysblog.com/archives/000175.html#000175

Posted by: Pegasong at May 7, 2002 10:50 PM

Xopher,
Would you cry with the woman equally hard if you found out she is crying because

a) she lost her beloved grandmother
b) she is an Enron exec who just found out from a reporter that she is busted.

People do feel bad for selfish reasons, too, you know. If you haven't met people like that, I'm glad, but I sure have. People holding up signs that say "homeless, need money for food" aren't necessarily going to spend it on food, either, but there are ways of helping if you really do care beyond just feeling some pity (eg. by donating to a food kitchen).

I think most of us learn to put our energies with those who we think will deserve it - we become selective out of experience and a realization that we don't have infinite energy. I think it's important to keep trying to find out where we can help, though, because the alternative is so cold. So I again I think Wil's basic instinct here is great, but I'm just saying you have to be careful.

Posted by: synchronicity at May 7, 2002 10:55 PM

>>>hey wil, I'm a bit concerned about your mental state.. I mean, it's good that you care and you're empathetic, I'm just concerned because you're crying really easily lately

Posted by t at May 7, 2002 07:49 PM

Ok... if Wil were female and admitted to crying, no one would think twice. The prevailing thought would likely be "oh, she's sensitive, how sweet..." A guy admits to crying and there's something wrong with his mental state? Pardon the french, but, what the phck?

A guy who notices the world around him and doesn't hide behind that mask of masculinity that says no matter what you do, DON'T CRY, DON'T SHOW WEAKNESS is probably more in touch with himself and with reality than other men. It takes guts for a man to allow himself to show that inate part of himself to himself, much less the rest of the world. It takes guts.

If more men would drop that mask and learn to stop swallowing emotion and let it out naturally, there would undoubtedly be much less violence in this world -- and maybe then we'd all feel a bit freer to roll that window down and say hello.

Posted by: Thumper at May 7, 2002 11:19 PM

The great thing about you Wil is that you have a great deal of empathy..among other things.

K

Posted by: Kman at May 7, 2002 11:32 PM

Hey Wil, Your desire and ability to connect and empathise with people is pehaps the very quality that attracts WWDN readers...certainly that's a significant aspect for me. And, with the obvious occasional exception, it's that quality that pervades the posts and has made this a nice community.

Your own posts, particularly the early ones, made me cry because we have all had similar experiences...like being given so much crap about something that it just plain hurts or losing a dear relative like your great aunt. I don't need to know you to connect any more than you need to know the girl in the car next to you.

Obviously not everyone connects as deeply or in the same way as others, as some of the posts indicate, and not all our efforts to connect will be successful. But making the effort and developing a sensitivity to others and a sense of compassion is a good thing. Never let go of it...

Posted by: Rob at May 7, 2002 11:43 PM

I have been lurking here for quite a while, but haven't posted.. Until this time, I haven't had anything to say....
I have been having problems with my neighbor for about a year. He does weird shit, and he's scary. He just got out of the nuthouse. Today, the neighbor jumped over the back fence and stabbed my dog with a steak knife in the side, and on the way to the vet, (Chingu bleeding profusely in the back seat) my car broke down. I don't carry a cell phone, and I didn't know what to do.
I am not a panic person, but I finally lost it, seeing my dog dying in the backseat, covered in blood, and me helpless. A man saw me crying and losing it shamelessly, and he pulled over. I was sitting on the curb with my dying dog's head in my lap.. He pulled over and opened his car door. Chingu bled all over his back seat, and I cried all over the front. Chingu is lying at my feet right now, uncomfortable, but alive. I don't know who that man is, but I want to say thank you for taking a minute, and being a person.. Sometimes strangers are all we got..

Posted by: Hollie at May 8, 2002 12:15 AM

Wil, this is a tough thing to say, but you really should listen:

These admissions of yours are eating away at your hard man image, and the chances of you appearing with Vinny Jones in the next Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels movie are severely diminished.

What you should have done is got out of your car, stepped over, opened her car door, politely excused yourself in a Cockney accent, took the phone, dropped it to the ground and crushed it into pieces, told her to "get a life, luv", rolled your shoulders, and strutted back into your vehicle once more before driving off into the smogset.

She'd have appreciated it later, told the media, the offers would have flooded in ...

Nuff said.

Posted by: Mark at May 8, 2002 12:38 AM

Hello Wil,

I know what you mean Wil. I found myself all teary eyed watching you in the Highway to Heaven episode you were in as 7 or 8 yr old. Then as your father yelled at you in, Stand By Me. And even in your t.v. movie "The Last Prostitute".
then, as the small boy-andriod Daryl, drowning,
wait, that was the Oliver Barret kid, whatever happened to him? anyway...

These t.v. / movie stories helped me in a way raising my step-son. to help me see things through his eyes..(he's now 27,trying to make it on his way in life.)

I thought I'd send some "thoughts"
for you to ponder;

We do not drown in tears;
We wash away our sorrow.
Anonymous

There are tears in the heart
that never reach the eyes.
Anonymous

No one needs a smile more
Than the person who doesnít
Have one.
Anonymous

The soul would have no rainbow,
Had the eyes no tears.
John Cheney

Life is like an onion; you peel it off
One layer at a time, and sometimes
You weep.
Carl Sunburg

Some say itís holding on that makes
You strong;
Sometimes, itís the letting go.
Anonymous

As I work nights at a hotel here in
downtown San Diego, You would not be surprised what I see And Iím sure it too would make you feel
The same way.. and your a better person for having such insite..

How goes the sinus infection?

Take care,

Posted by: wade at May 8, 2002 12:42 AM

I probably don't need to point out Senor Jackass up there going by the name of "JesusHChrist" (although I must admit some grudging thumbs-up for the name, as it amuses me).

I remember one time when I was a little late for a club meeting when I went to school in San Diego. There was this chick, and she was puking all over a tree.

It was not pretty.

But sometimes, you just can't walk past, you can't let it slide. I asked her if she was ok, if she needed some help. She said she was fine, just feeling a little sick.

I know that sometimes, when you're really feeling nasty and sad in public, you just want to be invisible, and I can dig that.

But sometimes you just want to scream out for a hug, even if it's from some random dude who's walking by.

Geez, I need to stop reading this blog. I feel like I'm getting to be a Close Personal Friend™.

So, yeah. Stop and ask the sad person what's bugging them. It's like smiling at someone in a nonthreatening fashion. The world is a better place, if only in a teeny tiny way.

Posted by: KJB at May 8, 2002 12:53 AM

That was so insanely positive, I'm disgusted.
-------------

Stundups said:

>>There are clinics you can go to if your testosterone is running a little low.

The link was to the White House. Go backwards-Spudnuts.

Posted by: KJB at May 8, 2002 01:03 AM

Jesus, Man, pull yourself together. What's with all the clowns acting all Sally Jessy and telling you what a winner you are? It's called being a little Blubber Boy.
Pussy.

Posted by: David at May 8, 2002 01:13 AM

Don't listen to 'em. That entry got me teary eyed, and I wasn't even there.

Posted by: Bryce at May 8, 2002 01:34 AM

People who respond with nasty comments on this site are understandable, but not excusable. Yes, Wil has been an actor, but go ahead and give'm the benefit of the doubt. I am saturated from the media and society about how L.A. is: shallow, plastic, and fake,
but there's no way to know whether people from there are for real, or if they are just wanting an audience.

Posted by: Mike at May 8, 2002 01:43 AM

wil

thank you for being human, and having the nuts to do it so unapologetically.

bonus dude,
christy

Posted by: christy at May 8, 2002 01:46 AM

Perhaps you should've knocked on her window and (using your inherent Powers of Celebrity) Commanded her to turn her frown upside down, punctuating the "encounter" with a stern "Make It So!". Odds are, she would've immediately requested you autograph some part of her anatomy. Here's an idea, kick [her] down some Ronald McDonald Bucks ;-) Phasers set to Mood Enhancement!

Posted by: Nightfly at May 8, 2002 02:27 AM

The fact that your humanity is still fully intact
after so many years in the Hollywood entertainment system
is no small feat, Wil.

Keep it up.
The world needs more like you.

Posted by: mondae at May 8, 2002 03:03 AM

I just followed the link mentioned by Pegasong. If you haven't already looked at the site, you should. (I do not know how to make links actually link, so please cut and paste if it doesn't work right.)
http://www.sysblog.com/archives/000175.html#000175

I found the story of a man who risked reaching out, and probably changed three lives; a father's, a son's, and his own. All for the better.

There are people outside of our restrictive little worlds that reach out for human connections. Some take chances, and actually touch the lives of others, like the guy in the web journal at sysblog... Others feel empathy and experience the emotions on a different level.

I'll bet that if Wil's interaction hadn't happened while driving in a car, he would have stopped, smiled at the young lady, and asked her if she was okay. Maybe a dialogue would have started. Maybe not. The smile would have helped her nonetheless. It would have helped Wil, too.

Wil is exactly the kind of man I want my sons and grandsons to emulate. He thinks, he feels, he acts. He cares about the world around him, and isn't afraid to take unsteady steps toward becoming whole. I admire him more than I can say.

A quote from my favorite teacher. I've never met this man, but I have learned more about living from reading his work than from any other source - ever.

"What we live with, we learn.
What we learn, we practice.
What we practice becomes habit.
Habits have consequences."

http://www.earnie.com/default.asp

Thank you, Wil, for reminding me to keep my eyes open. Even if it means that sometimes they are temporarily filled with tears....

(and, thanks Pegasong, for the link.)


Posted by: Corky at May 8, 2002 03:12 AM

how is it I come to wwdn and sometimes get blown away? I was having a crappy few days and then I see this and realize how much humanity there really is in the world.

we had a student at my school die in a car wreck to days ago. the kids found out yesterday. I didn't even know this kid, just his younger brother, but I still found myself crying all day yesterday because of what I was watching my students go through.

Posted by: jadis at May 8, 2002 03:13 AM

Synchronicity,
You ask, "Would you cry with the woman...if you found out she is crying because...she is an Enron exec who just found out from a reporter that she is busted[?]"

HELL no. That's why you heal first, THEN find out, THEN judge. Get it?

You go on: "People do feel bad for selfish reasons, too, you know." And: "I think most of us learn to put our energies with those who we think will deserve...I think Wil's basic instinct here is great, but I'm just saying you have to be careful."

Yes, I agree, when you're deciding whether to give money, whether to stop your car, etc. NOT when you're deciding whether to cry for someone. That you just do. Wil allowed it in, because he's empathic (and those who are dissing him here, in his own house as it were, can all twist their ankles and fall as far as I'm concerned: no crying for THEM from me, OK?), but note he did NOT stop and talk to her. His instinct served him well on both choices, even if he felt bad later.

I also think that Wil wouldn't cry for your hypothetical Enron exec, even if he didn't know. I don't think his empathic sense would "hear" such a person. Now an Enron exec who just lost her beloved grandmother he might hear. Bad people cry for good reasons sometimes too. That's just my sense of how empathy works (and I'm talking about the "psychic" (bleah, hate that word) kind of empathy, not the learned "counseling" kind, not that it's easy to draw that line sometimes). IMHO, IMHO, IMHO.

Posted by: Xopher at May 8, 2002 03:26 AM

Hollie, I'm really glad Chingu is fine and with you today. That man was an angel in disguise.

Corky, I'm glad you enjoyed the link.

Posted by: Pegasong at May 8, 2002 03:57 AM

That is really cool Wil. If more people were to let the situation of others personally effect them like you did yesterday the world would be a lot nicer.

Posted by: guerrand at May 8, 2002 05:05 AM

Great, now I'm crying at work! So not good.

A lovely story though, Wil, it's great to see that some people can still care, and also manage to be honest about it :)

Must now compose self before end of lunch break!

Posted by: beth at May 8, 2002 05:06 AM

{I cried, really hard, for close to 5 minutes, because of a person who I have never seen before, and will probably never see again.}

Damn beautiful.

There's a story in there, and if you don't write it, Wil, someone else will.

Posted by: LittleGuy at May 8, 2002 05:11 AM

Wow, Wil. It's not always easy to show your feelings like that- thank you for sharing that situation with us. I think it's great that you not only learned something from that experience, but you shared it with the rest of us. I was never the kind of person to cry at movies or anything, but I find as I get older (I turned 30 yesterday!) that I am more emotional, and I cry at things a little more now. I tend to keep it all inside, though, and I'll only let it out to my husband, who is the kindest and most understanding human being I have ever known. In my family, I always felt that my mom and sister were overly emotional, so I followed my dad's way and kept it inside. Anyway, Wil, don't let those jerks who are telling you that you're not a man make you feel bad. Realize that they are the ones who are not truly men, since they aren't in touch with their real feelings. Most of us here are your friends- please ignore those who aren't. And you know, I know we live in a democracy and all that, but don't you own this site? Why not just delete those jerky posts before they show up? :) I hope that that crying was cathartic for you- it usually is for me. Have a great day, Wil! :) ~~~lots of love to Wil~~~
Love, Alicia
www.thewagband.com

Posted by: Alicia at May 8, 2002 05:26 AM

A few Thanksgivings ago, I was driving back to school, on a 2 lane, country road. It was in a neighborhood section of the road, I saw something up ahead that looked a tire in the road, but as I got closer, I saw that it was in fact a dog that had been hit and killed, lying in the road. The dogs brother/sister was lying at the edge of the yard, obviously sad. It was obvious that children lived at this house also.

I started thinking about this family, coming home after a happy Thanksgiving meal, and finding one of their dogs dead in the road. Being a dog lover also, I felt very sad. I began bawling over this, alone in my car, crying hysterically.

Compassion is a funny thing. The good thing is, it reminds you we are all humans.

Posted by: emiline at May 8, 2002 05:55 AM

this is so true and so cool.

thanks

Posted by: dave at May 8, 2002 05:59 AM

and after i posted that, i meant to say, it was cool that you realized that. and it sad that we live our lives like this. that is all.

Posted by: dave at May 8, 2002 06:00 AM

thanks for such a poignant and beautiful entry, wil. the fact that you wrote about this speaks volumes about your character.

Posted by: keldog at May 8, 2002 06:02 AM

So you're not such a bad-ass after all, Mr. Wheaton.

And as your story unfolded, I was convinced that you will reach out and somehow interact with that woman.

p.s. I hate it when I cry in public.

Posted by: SpaceCadet at May 8, 2002 06:04 AM

Oh, and I mean it with great fondness :)

Posted by: SpaceCadet at May 8, 2002 06:08 AM

Oh, and I mean it with great fondness :)

Posted by: SpaceCadet at May 8, 2002 06:08 AM

HELLO EVERYONE!!! HI WIL!!!!

Posted by: turtles11 at May 8, 2002 06:17 AM

Thom Yorke of radiohead fame once said "The most essential thing in life is to establish a heartfelt communication with others".

Somebody else also once said "nothing ventured, nothing gained".

Posted by: John C at May 8, 2002 06:19 AM

Wil, Now you realize how we felt when you posted "I'm a Loner Dottie, A Rebel". Some of us did actually roll our windows down, and let you know we cared...

Posted by: Buck at May 8, 2002 06:24 AM

More people need to think like this. So many isolate and don't even try to connect with others. Wil, thanks for giving me hope that people do care. If I'd seen you crying in your car I would have cried too.

Posted by: Ness at May 8, 2002 06:39 AM

Why was my comment last night deleted? It wasn't mean, vulgar, or in any way inappropriate. Some of these comments are personal swipes at Wil, and they don't get deleted. WTF?

Posted by: rob at May 8, 2002 06:43 AM

Wil, you amaze me! Everytime. Take care. ch

Posted by: Christian Humberg at May 8, 2002 06:46 AM

Agreed, Wil you really impress me.

I'm happy to live in Georgia, where courtesy is still accepted and somewhat encouraged. But... I hate it when you can look at someone you don't even know but you know what they're going through and you just want to reach out to them but... it's just hard to.

I was riding back from lunch with a friend yesterday. We were in his nice red sporty-car with the windows down and the sunroof open, listening to "Midnight Swimming" by REM. It was a beautiful day, and I suddenly just wanted to tell him that I was glad he was my friend, because it was just a great moment. But even in that, I wasn't sure what he'd think of that and it might sound weird and and and etc etc. So I wimped out and told him by pager this morning. And you know what? He said "thank you". So I agree... how much of that window is in our own car?

Working in an office makes you realize how superficial people are... "Hey how are ya doing?" "Pretty good!". Yeah, they're in danger of losing their jobs, scared to death, and that sort of thing, but it's a chipper "Pretty good!" instead. Who are all these people I work with? Who are they, really?

Thanks for making me think, Wil.

Posted by: Buckthorn at May 8, 2002 07:06 AM

A few years ago I found myself standing next to an elderly blind woman at a busy crosswalk. There were several of us waiting for the light to turn and when it finally did we all barreled ahead without much consideration for anybody or anything.

Suddenly I stopped, glanced back at the woman (who had yet to make a move) and offered to guide her across the way. She smiled behind her big, dark sunglasses and extended her hand. "Thank you," she said.

"My pleasure," I said as I took her hand and moved her gently into the street, careful not to get in the way of her zigzagging cane.

Our pace was slow compared to those bustling around us. My gaze darted from person to person, monitoring their movements, prepared to wave them aside if they got too close.

And that's when I saw her: blonde, blue eyes, tanned, wearing tight black jeans and heels that matched her red halter-top. Her name was Rebecca. We worked in the same office. I was in love with her. She didn't know my name.

For months I'd been building up the courage to introduce myself to her, to speak to her, to actually hold a conversation with her. But that bastard Brad Randall was always by her side. He was large and muscled. And he made Rebecca laugh. I hated Brad. I wanted him dead.

But he was nowhere in sight! Rebecca was alone! She was walking back to the office ALONE! This was my chance! Fate had smiled upon me. I had to make my move.

I turned and raced after her, weaving myself through the crowd between us. I wanted to call out to her but decided against it--I didn't want to alarm her. I wanted to stroll up alongside. Saunter. Glide. Float.

And then I was there. We were walking in stride. I could smell her sweet perfume. Luscious lips parted her smile. I was ready. It was Now or Nev...

She was smiling? At who? I followed her gaze.

And saw Him. Brad Randall. The Beast.

I slowed down, falling behind her once again. I watched, as the Beast grew nearer. And then, just like that, Rebecca had fallen from my sights and into his arms. His enormous, ripped arms.

Bastard

Posted by: Alex7000 at May 8, 2002 07:17 AM

Aww that was Sooooooooo Emo.

Posted by: kerrington at May 8, 2002 07:18 AM

Wil,

I applaud your honesty with us, your web following. We are mostly a group of people/fans/friends/whatever who will likely never meet you. Yet you show no fear in opening up to us. That is commendable.

But it does bear asking then, why DIDN'T you open the window? You bear your soul to us, a bunch of faceless people at computers throughout the world, but you can't open your window to comfort a crying woman in a car next to you.

I can tell you why you didn't open that window.

It is because of the people that Jason (above) gave examples of. The women who say, "I can get my own door!" The guy who stares at you and says, "What are you looking at?" They are the problem, not you, but they put that thought in the back of your head for all others you meet on the street.

It all comes down to a natural fear of rejection that we all have. And worse off, being rejected in simply doing something nice for a nameless person you'll never see again.

You didn't leave the window closed because you didn't care. Your postings these last few days show that you DO care, that you are a good guy. (Personally, I think the world could use a few more good guys...) You didn't open the window because you didn't want to be told to "Fuck off!" for being a good guy...

We need more people like the stranger who helped Hollie save her dog. (Best wishes for a speedy recovery, and getting your neighbor put away, again...) We need less people like the idiot calling himself Jesus.

Wil, don't change. I may be new here, but I like the fact that you really seem to give a damn!

Jewels, I got what you were saying completely, as I admit to crying when hearing Pavarotti sing "Ave Maria" or Pink Floyd's "When The Tigers Broke Free".

Rob, love the "Tom Sawyer" quotes, my friend!

Peace.

Posted by: Potch at May 8, 2002 07:19 AM

I spent a year in a dorm at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. I befriended a guy who was a transsexual, going through the changing process. He had serious issues but most of the time had a positive attitude. He committed suicide by jumping off the bridge between East and West campuses. I'd known him for only a few months, but it was a very sad thing. I told my friends it was Terry; some of them had spoken with him some, some of them hadn't known him all that well.

At the end of the year, I did the cheesy yearbook thing and passed around a book for people to sign. One friend wrote (I paraphrase) "I didn't know who Terry was, didn't know his name, but when you told me after he died, I realized that he'd been right there and I hadn't known him. From that time on I've paid more attention to the people around me, making sure to learn their names and connect to them."

Another instance: September 11th. I was at work, at a college in Queens, and I cried hard in my office for ten minutes, then went out and about among the students and faculty, trying to find something constructive to do. I was still choked up and teary at various times throughout the day. More than a month later, I met a student on the subway on our way in to school. He greeted me and we chatted a bit. He said he remembered me from September 11th, and when I asked why he said "Because you cried."

I hear what you're saying. I hope others hear as well.

Posted by: Naomi at May 8, 2002 07:31 AM

Wil,
Perhaps you should go easy on the metaphors for a bit. You ought to be careful not to use so many up in one go: it would be dreadful not to know where your next one's coming from.

Posted by: Nick at May 8, 2002 07:54 AM

Will,
Crying is good for the soul, I believe it helps it to heal. So crying can be a very good thing, as long as you don't do it all the time. And the compassion you have shown to this stranger by shedding your tears for her is inspiring. We are all such strangers to each other these days.
John

Posted by: John at May 8, 2002 08:00 AM

Hi Wil!

You're totally right! Maybe your thoughts were also influenced by watching news on tv. A week or two ago, some pupils were killed by a person running amok here in Erfurt, Germany. Although this person was on the same school, nobody really knew him, even his parents didn't expect him to become a killer!!
Isolation is THE problem number one. People loose morality, don't believe in god anymore and treat each other like shit, while often declaring this just as 'fun'. That's the cruelty which we define as the normality of life and because of this some sensible persons easily could get mad! Very often the reason for all problems is a kind of hidden intolerance to each other, because officially everybody HAS to be tolerant. But the reality is far different and law couldn't get active in such cases, because these aren't really established illegal actions. It`s a problem of morality and values in general.
That's why I love Star Trek - "all for one and one for all" intstead of "all together and each one for himself"!

Posted by: Spanner19 at May 8, 2002 08:13 AM

As has been said, many times, it's not society in general.

I live in Northeast Wisconsin, and here, exactly what you wonderes happens. People reach out to strangers. People care. I don't know what the difference is, but here, we're still civilized and open to strangers and reacing out.

Again, as has been said, I still open doors for people, and am still thanked for the courtesy. I'm teaching the same to my kids. It's a hackneyed cliche, but "random acts of kindness" will change the world if we all strive to do them.

Kahuna

Posted by: Kahuna at May 8, 2002 08:39 AM

I believe she was crying because she heard that Wes was cut from Star Trek X.

I know this is a deep story and I was moved by it but I had to make a funny ! WWDC Rocks !

Posted by: Craig at May 8, 2002 08:59 AM

Wil,

You know what? It's OK to cry. Don't let anyone tell you that it's not.

Take Care.

Posted by: brice at May 8, 2002 09:23 AM

Wil (hopefully you take a look at this) I have a great book that is totally on this topic. It's called Happiness is a Choice and it's by Barry Neil Kaufman... really excellent.

Posted by: chica at May 8, 2002 09:37 AM

Not sure if you have noticed this, but read this post and the previous one right after it and it is kind of amusing. You go from AWWWW to useless motherfuckers in a split second.

Posted by: Jay at May 8, 2002 09:45 AM

With respect to such matters, there are two kind of people. Those who shut themselves away from the suffering of the world and the others who open the window and try to help. The second kind are rare because you need a strong inner strength to deal with the suffering. Imagine what the world would be like if more people opened the window and tried to connect?

Posted by: SpaceGurlToTheRescue at May 8, 2002 10:07 AM

congratulations Wil!
:)
*big huggers*

you haven't let humanity beat the humanity out of you.

Posted by: Maia at May 8, 2002 10:13 AM

Funny how kids and dogs always want the windows rolled down. I appreciate your emotion and the metaphor. Thanks for both.

Posted by: Ana at May 8, 2002 10:28 AM

Paul McCartney, as usual, has a perfect song for this occasion:

This One

Did I ever take you in my arms
look you in the eye
tell you that I do?
Did I ever open up my heart and let you look inside?

If I never did it
I was only waiting
for a better moment, that didn't come.
There never could be a better moment
than this one.

Did I ever touch you on the cheek
say that you were mine
thank you for the smile?
Did I ever knock upon your door
and try to get inside?

What opportunities did we allow to flow by
feeling like the timing wasn't quite right?
What kind of magic might ahve worked if we had stayed calm,
couldn't I have given you a better life?

Did you ever take me in your arms
look me in the eye, tell me that you do?
Did I ever open up my heart,
let you look inside?

If I never did it, I was only waiting
for a better moment that didn't come.
There never could be a better moment
than this one.

Posted by: Alice at May 8, 2002 10:29 AM

Xopher,
Heal first, ask questions later? Nah, sorry, sometimes people deserve their pain. They might even learn something from it, if they're lucky. So why should I run to soften the blow?

Compassion, yes, but judiciously applied. I'm the type who used to reach out more than most in the past, but now I'm a bit more cautious now. My instinct is still to help (thanks to my parents, who were solid on their values), but I want to find out what the hell is going on, first.

Anyway, it's fun debating these ideas with you ... isn't this an awesome forum? (oops, I guess that means this should be in the forum).

(Someone told me once that I always had to get the last word ... damn, could it be true?)

Cheers,
Syn-er

Posted by: synchronicity at May 8, 2002 10:30 AM

Well, being the ridiculously friendly (and stupid) teenager that I am, I always try and make the effort to smile and greet people on the street but winding down our windows to talk to a complete stranger? Didn;t your mother ever tell you not to talk to strangers?

Posted by: Sally at May 8, 2002 11:04 AM

wuss

Posted by: Fats Vernon at May 8, 2002 11:07 AM

the next time i see someone who is upset or crying -- especially in a car next to me -- i will say hello and assure them that everything will be okay.

the world should be filled with more like you, wil. you're bad-ass.

Posted by: prax at May 8, 2002 11:21 AM

Maybe the $340. for the picture will help. Or maybe giving that money to charity instead of buying a GPS will help. Can I just say I'm glad I got mine for $20.

Posted by: Mary at May 8, 2002 11:31 AM

I used to be that compassionate once, but a lot has changed. I don't know how to trust or to let my guard down. I am a closed up introverted person who has learned to shut out the world for my own survival. Am I proud of this? No. All I can say is I am glad that there is at least one person out there capable of doing what I have lost the capacity to do. Keep it up, and forget those losers that have a problem with it.

Posted by: tskll at May 8, 2002 11:40 AM

You know what I like the most about my website?

Being judged by people.

That rules.

Posted by: wil at May 8, 2002 11:48 AM

Wil:

You've proven once again why I so enjoy coming to this site. Your entries are sometimes humorous, sometimes saddened, sometimes confused or lonely or joyous or pissed off or content--but they are always varied, and they are never indifferent.

I once again come away from your site saying "Yep, this is the reason I'm liking this Wil guy...

"He's me."

And what I mean by that is that you're just a guy, an average human being, out there in the world. You're not trying to change the world in one sweeping, grand gesture--you're trying to find those little ways that a single person can say "I liked that guy. He was nice." You're just working to find those ways to get be a good person, a good father, a good husband, a good friend.

Just like most of the rest of us. And that's what makes your site a joy to visit.

Rock on. ;)

Posted by: Snark at May 8, 2002 12:00 PM

Wil wrote:
"You know what I like the most about my website?

Being judged by people.

That rules."


Honey - you're damned if you do, and you're damned if you don't.

there will always be asswipes, don't let them get to you.

Posted by: Maia at May 8, 2002 12:10 PM

I can't believe how incredibly shallow some people are.

Wil, for every idiot that wants to criticize you for being human enough to show your emotions, there are a hundred of us who think you're amazing, for the exact same reason.

Posted by: Noelle at May 8, 2002 12:11 PM

What a lovely, compassionate log entry. I've been visiting your site since an article on Slashdot last year and I'm so happy to have found it.

It's amazing how even though our world has gotten closer together via the Internet, phones, tv, etc., we still don't know the people closest to us.

I remember going to Disneyland when I was 8 or 9 and the Jungle Boat cruise guy asked us to turn around and introduce ourselves to the person sitting next to us. My Dad dutifully turned to the man sitting next to him and said we were from Eugene, OR. The guy said, "Amazing, so are we. Whereabouts?" Turned out the guy lived only 2 houses down from us--we had never met them before that instant.

So, yes, take the time to reacquaint yourself with family, friends and neighbors close by. And don't be put off by opening a door, helping someone with their groceries, or smiling at a stranger. It will make a difference!

Posted by: Capt. Mobious at May 8, 2002 12:18 PM

wuss

Posted by: BOB at May 8, 2002 12:20 PM

Gee, somebody had an epiphany...
...
Which gives me an idea, I'm gonna go for a walk today and say hi to some people to see if I can make this headache go away.

Posted by: ayngil at May 8, 2002 12:21 PM

All of you who have posted a comment has shown that the world is a good place, you just have to look. Always believe.

Posted by: belief at May 8, 2002 12:50 PM

I've often had that same thought myself, that he can come so close to other people, and yet be so encapsulated in our own lives that we fail to recognize that the person 3 feet away from us is another human being, and treat them accordingly. I hope you've given the posse a wake-up call.

As an afterthought, is it -really- wrong of me to think of people who cut me off as having no souls?

Posted by: Stuffie at May 8, 2002 12:52 PM

I read all the posts here (and there were lots!) and just want to add my two cents. Given the difficulties of stopping in traffic (and LA has crazies and road rage aplenty), I think that you would have stopped to help her had you been able to. One of the reasons you've been blessed with a lovely family and helpmate is that you have a duty to "pay if forward" if possible. Keep the empathy that Xopher applauds, in the face of all the jeers. Those that jeer are secretly hoping you'll keep on, cause they need the hope you engender. Nolan and Ryan have a great stepdad!

I'll go back to my corner, now! Karen

Posted by: kazfeist at May 8, 2002 01:31 PM

Wil, I just have to say, you rock. Emotion is good, it makes you human. The fact that seeing someone in pain made you sad is beautiful and touching, and I pity those poor, pathetic souls who would make fun of you for it. The world needs more people like you.

I grew up in a rural area and then moved to a medium-sized Ontario town in my early teens. I considered it normal for complete strangers to smile at each other for no reason, to offer to help an elderly person with grocery bags, or to extend a hand to a kid that had tripped.

I moved to Toronto two years ago, and it was a huge change. No one rolls down those windows here, and people look at me strangely if I smile at them and say hello. My husband even teases me for doing it, but he has lived all his life in the city and this is normal to him. I think it's a city thing. People are so consumed by their own lives, so fearful of the so-called "crazies" out there, that no one takes the time to be friendly to a complete stranger. It makes me so sad.

Try smiling at someone today, and make their world just a little tiny bit brighter! =) Sometimes smaller cities have the right idea. Just imagine what would happen if everyone took the time to care.

*hugs* Wil. Never let your compassion die.

Posted by: Kelayrel at May 8, 2002 02:17 PM

Wil, I cry easily; and, more embarassingly, I cry in public. Not on a regular basis or anything, but if something stirs up tears, I have a hard time holding them back. Just the other day, I found myself crying in public for a really stupid reason -- because no one called to pledge support for my radio show -- but it made me feel like a Big Failure, and as I left the station and headed toward my school's computer lab, I realized I was ... crying. Naturally, nobody commented. I didn't encounter anyone I knew, only strangers, and they all looked right past me.

Anyway, after reading this blog, I can think that at times like the other day, there's somebody like you who maybe DOES care...and just feels cut off, in their metaphorical "car." Thanks. I really appreciated this piece of writing.

And by the way, REAL MEN CRY!!! Terry Taylor said so.

Posted by: tammy at May 8, 2002 02:37 PM

awww Wil your so sweet! i just started crying that story was just so sweet! :)

Posted by: Lizzie at May 8, 2002 03:09 PM

Okay, first off, I also found it very touching to hear of someone moved profoundly by the emotions of another. I've got enough of that and am sensitive to it that FWIW, I go out of my way not to open myself to it too much since it is *very* intense and I've got stuff to do as I go through the day.

But while I'm hearing a lot of support for "rolling down the window," I'm also hearing a SHITLOAD of judgement directed toward those types who don't necessarily want anyone to roll down the windows.

I find the expression of sympathy to be very touching and beautiful. But frankly, when I am in a bad way (read: crying, soemthing I despise doing but don't mind when anyone else does it) the last thing I would want is for a complete stranger to stop and insinuiate themselves into the situation, even to offer sympathy. I KNOW people, and I'm sure that that girl in the car knew people as well. People who you can trust, people who you can go to and talk about the awful things that you feel -- and it's not everyone on the street. To share your innermost emotions like that is a tremendous privilege, and as lovely as it is to know that my emotions may move someone I don't know, I have no intention of sharing them with anyone who asks about them. I'm sorry, but no -- not everyone in the world deserves that privilege.

Am I repressed? I couldn't give a shit if anyone thinks that I am. I'm just reading no small amount of sneering and superiority directed towards those of us crippled and emotionally illiterate poor sods who aren't willing to share our innermost thoughts with anyone on the street. Nice way to present yourself as emotionally open -- by throwing down on people who don't deal with their most vulnerable emotions the "right" way.

Again, I find it sweet that someone would be moved by the emotions of another. But if I am in the throes of a gutwrenching emotional upheaval, I don't want someone to try to "reach out" to me who doesn't KNOW me. Why? Because I want someone to reach out to me because I know that they know me and care, not because they want to use my most private emotions as some sort of ideological proving ground for how we should relate to one another as a species.

Emotionally reserved and PROUD OF IT.

Posted by: Janis Cortese at May 8, 2002 03:52 PM

Janis! I've been waiting for someone to say that all day! Thank you thank you thank you!

You stated just what I've been thinking.

Posted by: Bronwyn at May 8, 2002 04:45 PM

Noelle said:

I can't believe how incredibly shallow some people are.

Wil, for every idiot that wants to criticize you for being human enough to show your emotions, there are a hundred of us who think you're amazing, for the exact same reason.

my thoughts? puh-leeze! someone else who said this is "so emo" was so right on. it's like sad, shoe-boy-gazer music. we can all, in theory, say , "reach out! say hello! hold hands and skip with a new person!" but in reality, how many of us will actually DO it? right. a veeery small percentage. some granola kids hurtin' for some touchy-feely love stuff.

face it. we don't live in the same kind of generation as our parents and grandparents do. we're hard. we're fast paced. we're gen x'ers who by definition think mainly of ourselves.

get over the peace, love and beatles crap already.

Posted by: pavegirl at May 8, 2002 05:34 PM

metaphorical... metaphorical things depress me. nice story though. good thing i'm not pms-ing right now, otherwise i'd be crying. i cry during life insurance commercials. those really get to me. sometimes i call my mom after i've watched one. why does everyone try to depress me! because it's easy. ok. return of saturn rocks. in my cd player right this very moment. good taste.

Posted by: heidi at May 8, 2002 06:38 PM

Wil,
Wow...that's really heavy, "dude". :o ) Seriously, thanks for putting it all in perspective...we do need to spend more time getting to know those around us. If just to say "howdy" or "how are you today?" The world might just be a better place....

Take care,

Posted by: Mark at May 8, 2002 09:29 PM

I too am glad that someone else stood up for the socially introverted . . .
What I'd like to know is why there's so much venom being spit at women who want to open their own doors? I'm sure most men just think it's a polite thing to do, but it *does* send the message that we are weak little things who need help. I get my own door. I buy my own dinner. I drive late at night. Why is that so *threatening* to some men? I won't be disempowered to save somebody's fragile ego.

Posted by: laura p. at May 8, 2002 11:27 PM

It's a thought I've had for a long time. There are billions of people on this planet, each one totally isolated from the others. Each person has their own thoughts, feelings, experiences from life that can never be repeated or shared and understood with others. And each of these people is only on the planet for such a short period of time before their thoughts are gone forever. If you think about it enough, you get chills.

Posted by: Sarah at May 9, 2002 12:06 AM

As for the "I can open my own door" thing, this is how I handle it: If someone, male or female, is ahead of me, and they choose to hold open the door for me, I thank them and walk through it. If I am in front of someone, male or female, I will hold open the door for them so that they can walk through. If I am behind someone that is old, or frail, or has armfuls of packages, I will rush ahead and open the door for them. I don't think it should be a male/female power thing. It should be a common courtesy thing. I don't think women should feel threatened by a man holding open the door, but men should also not feel threatened by a woman who holds open the door for them. Ya know what I mean? I don't believe in one-way chivalry. Whoever needs the door held open should let someone else open it. Dig?
Love, Alicia
www.thewagband.com

Posted by: Alicia at May 9, 2002 05:12 AM

I had almost exactly the same experience several years ago and reacted the same way. It's amazing how empathetic we are as human beings.

Posted by: Helen Marie at May 9, 2002 05:37 AM

There have been several times when I have seen people in trouble or people who are upset and have walked away indifferent. Then suddenly it hits me as to how callous I have been and it shocks me. The extent to which we have been de-sensitized is appaling. I do try to act more conciously when I see people in distress, but it is very difficult to reach out. As somebody else mentioned in the posts above, I guess it is the fear of rejection that keeps us from trying. I really appreciate your sharing this experience with us.

Posted by: Vikram at May 9, 2002 10:22 AM

I know this probably won't be read by the person it's meant to be seen by, but I have to applaud your intrepidity and courage. It's a terrible shame the double standard still exists between men and women and their emotions, and I'm glad you are developed enough emotionally to understand that you idealise the 'real' man. Real men cry, show feelings, are compassionate, and are generally altruistic. You've shown all of those traits and more and should be proud. I'm sure you don't need us to tell you that, but somehow I felt compelled. Hopefully someone else will get something out of this.

Cheers,
Casey

Posted by: Casey at May 9, 2002 10:58 AM

Remind me not to watch Old Yeller with you anytime soon, Wil. (Just kiddin', joke man, joke...lol, I couldn't resist, okay? Nothin' but love for ya buddy. Hell, I cry, figure everyone does, late at night, some of 'em, maybe, when nobody knows about it. They do, though. There's something out there that'll make everyone cry, sooner or later. For instance, I damn near cried when I found out that they'd ditched the original Hulk origin for this stupid Absorbing Man craziness in the upcoming movie.)

Posted by: Patrick at May 9, 2002 12:10 PM

Man...that's deep...wow...I hate you Will! You made me get that odd...unknowing empty thinking feeling, like when you KNOW you forgot something you just don't know WHAT! Damn you Will Wheaton...Damn you...

Posted by: Kate at May 9, 2002 02:44 PM

Man...that's deep...wow...I hate you Will! You made me get that odd...unknowing empty thinking feeling, like when you KNOW you forgot something you just don't know WHAT! Damn you Will Wheaton...Damn you...

Posted by: Kate at May 9, 2002 02:45 PM

Move to Chicago, dude. Bask in the stranger-love.

Posted by: Scathe at May 10, 2002 01:58 AM

Move to Chicago, dude. Bask in the stranger-love.

Posted by: Scathe at May 10, 2002 01:58 AM

Exquisite Wil, positively, Exquisite!!

Thanks for being so real!

Posted by: Brock at May 10, 2002 03:45 AM

Damn, Wil Wheaton. You really are one cool cat.

Living here in L.A. can be really distressing and disturbing in that we are all packed in our little bubbles going to and fro our destinations completely oblivious to the people in the other bubbles. Some jerks even go so far as to attempt to push others out of their way in an attempt to get to their oh-so-important places.

This is one of the reasons I've decided I really should leave the entertainment industry - there seem to be a great number of these insensitive cads out there who are only looking out for Number One (not Will Riker).

Thanks for sharing your thoughts like you do - and thanks for putting out that good energy here in Southern California. "Every little counts."

Posted by: Marked at May 10, 2002 08:17 AM

This is the first time I've ever posted here, but Wil's post about the girl really moved me. I was surprised to find out, 2 nights ago, that even in New York City, people aren't as isolated and aloof as I thought.

I had had a really, really bad night, and I just sort of lost it while waiting for my train in Grand Central Station. When I finally boarded the train, I found a seat way in the back, where hopefully nobody would see me cry. I figured nobody would care anyway, but I was still embarrassed.

So there I am, sobbing on the metro north train to CT, thinking that nobody cares and everybody on the train were heartless Wall Street types, when all of a sudden, people seemed to care. No less than 3 passengers asked me if I needed help, needed to use a cell phone or just to talk, and the ticket guy told me to just find him if I needed anything at all. How wonderful is that? I was sitting there, thinking how awful everything was, and even in the most anonymous city in the world, people reached out to me. It really gave me more faith in people.

Posted by: Liz at May 10, 2002 10:45 AM

Wil,

You know I was thinking about this post, and although it's a few days later, I wanted to share something with you.

For a second I put myself in that girls shoes. I imagined that my girlfriend called and complained about that thing that's been bothering us for awhile (fictional of course). I imagined that my dad called and told me that my niece was hurt falling down the stairs. I imagined that my asshole boss called my cellphone to bitch about something I wasn't even working on...

Now in some of those situations it would be nice if someone just asked, "Hey, is everything okay"? But imagine that if something was so personal or so upsetting that even the thought of someone having the nerve to get into your horrible, personal drama. Imagine being in a place you think you are alone and safe and then someone coming and asking if your okay with your wife leaving you over the phone.

It's interesting how we can sometimes feel that rolling down that window could make someone's day and not think about whether or not its right.

Thanks for letting me post this Wil. Even though this may sound like a mean comment, I understand what you mean. It's hard being a good guy sometimes. No. It's hard being a good guy all of the time.

Love,
Justin

Posted by: Justin at May 10, 2002 11:27 AM

Don't you hate when you read up a few posts and find almost exactly what you just wrote?

:)

Posted by: Justin at May 10, 2002 11:29 AM

You've got a heart. I've only looked at this site a few times and I think I'll be looking more often. I think if I had been you, I would have rolled down my window and yelled to the girl if she was ok. I think it's cool that you had a heart to realize this. Kudos for you, man. :D

Posted by: Nicole at May 10, 2002 04:42 PM

Pavegirl said: get over the peace love and Beatles
crap.

WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS LOVE, SWEET LOVE.

Pavegirl, I beleive YOU need some peace love and
"Beatles crap".

Thank you very much.

(and yes I know that lyrics above is not the
Beatles..but same thought.

Posted by: bluecat-redblanket at May 11, 2002 10:37 AM

Wil,
I am sorry that I am posting about this entry until now but,
This was a very emotional entry I have read. I think that you showing your sensitive side, is wonderful. About reading about Justin's post on how its hard being a "good guy" I really dont think that you are a "monster" at all. Yes, people have there bad days, and Yes, You may get angry at things. But it seems like you are a kind hearted soul, and care about things. And that makes you a good guy all around! :)
P.S. You truly are a star Wil!

sincerely
Sweetthing

Posted by: sweetthing at May 12, 2002 06:40 PM

Wil wrote:
"You know what I like the most about my website?
Being judged by people.
That rules."

Maia responded:
"Honey - you're damned if you do, and you're damned if you don't. there will always be asswipes, don't let them get to you."

Oh pa-leeez! EVERYONE judges people. It doesn't matter who you are, and if you say you don't you're a liar. Even Wil judges people, maybe not intentionally, but he does. Need proof? Just visit his activism page. If you own a gun, vote Republican, or you are involved in any way with corporate capitalism, he LOATHES you. You probably hate people who dress differently than you, or people who don't watch Friends and think it sucks, or maybe it's the people who don't cry at the drop of a hat. So before you go throwing stones at people who don't share your opinion, take a good look at yourself, grow up, and stop pretending that you're better than everyone else.

Posted by: crash at May 13, 2002 01:49 PM

It's absolutely wonderful that you can think like that, Wil. Thousands of people go through life every day, thinking only of themselves, and that's sad.
For even caring about that girl makes you a great guy. Thanks for making me think.

Posted by: Angie at May 13, 2002 03:08 PM

hmmm.

Posted by: nina at May 14, 2002 12:17 AM

hmmm.

Posted by: nina at May 14, 2002 12:17 AM

huh?

Posted by: nina at May 14, 2002 12:18 AM

Iíve been the woman crying on her cell phone in the car. I felt completely overwhelmed by life, like the last bit of hope I had was gone and I had no idea what to do next. That wasnít what made me cry. What made me cry was how alone I felt, like no one in the world understood how I felt, or even wanted to make the effort to understand. What a beautiful thought, that someone who knows nothing of my problems or life could look over and see me crying and be so moved. Maybe I wasnít as alone as I thought.

As for all this machorealmendonítcrybs, pl-ease! Men who cry are evolved enough to be in touch with their feelings and the people around them. There is nothing sexier than that! Those who heckle are threatened by their own insecurities.

Posted by: Lisa at May 14, 2002 08:06 AM

2-nite, my 1st earnie comment opportunity: The stranger crying in the car epilogue--crying is a veritable part of my life, everyday i allow myself beautiful, unspeakable, inside (and outside) tears; the grief is like a companion right here beside me, not to be distanced, but welcomed as a love; how grateful i am for your sharing the experience with me; this thank you surrounds us--my most tender offering this late hour.

Posted by: Bonnie Gruberman at July 10, 2002 10:08 PM

Oh goodness...I cant believe my lucky stars. I just got my net service back and what do I stumble apon? A Wil Wheaton weblog. You have been on my mind for SO long you have NO idea, I mean EVERY TIME I hear that "Tainted Love" song by soft cell I remember the times I went looking for info on you way back in the early 90's just to see how you were getting along. I read that you liked Soft Cell, thats why the song referrence. Then time passed and I stopped checking and other stuff happened...and here we are again, reading your stuff, the article said you wanted to be a writer, so do I. Ive written stories and given them to my friends to read, my writing teacher didnt like them too much though. I hope youre well and happy, and THANK YOU for sharing your life with us. "Ants marching"-DMB '95...Ill never forget you. Love, Susan. Seattle.

Posted by: Susan Holland at December 18, 2002 11:06 PM

what the hell is WPI*IFRIENDS

Posted by: unknown at May 16, 2003 08:31 AM

i do not want membership on your site

Posted by: carreybr at June 12, 2004 02:59 AM

What's Crackin! - Just need to go Play Bingo - for my Online Bingo Habit! But I cannot Find a Good Bingo Online website to cover my bingo addiction!

Posted by: Bingo at October 25, 2004 01:15 PM
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