It's been a yecchhy week. This cold is probably something worse than that.
On the way home from work last night, I made a stop at the grocery store. There are some sections to the side of the store where flowers will go, and right now are covered with peat moss.
As I passed one section, I noticed it was smoking. On closer inspection, it was on fire, a patch at least 8 inches in diameter. I was ready to stamp on it but noticed it looked like there was already a nice bed of hot coals underneath.
(I wasn't surprised by this - I read enough stuff in my childhood - Sherlock Holmes, How Green Was My Valley, etc. - that the idea of peat as a fuel for fire was familiar.)
So I went into the store and had to try to explain the situation. Fortunately, I'm a regular and they didn't dismiss me as a flake. They were going to send somebody to stamp it out but listened to me when I insisted a bucket of water would probably be the best thing.
Anyway, it got taken care of. (it had spread in the time it took me to get someone)
I wasn't the only person who noticed this, btw. I was, however, the only person who actually went and alerted the store that there was a fire outside.
I don't understand. I didn't want to waste my time, either. But I didn't want to here later that the fire had damaged something or someone knowing I could have done something about it.
How big is the town/city you live in? The reason I ask is that there's a well known psychological phenomenon called (I think) "diffusion of responsibility," wherein people who live around lots of other people show a marked tendency not to do anything about things that go on around them. People who live in small towns tend not to display this behavior. I think the concept is that when there are lots of people around, you can always assume someone else will deal with it. There's a famous study about a bunch of people who lived in an apartment building in a big city, none of whom called the police when they heard a woman outside being raped and then killed.
Posts: 4533 | Registered: Jan 2003
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It's a fair-sized suburb of Chicago. The case you're referring to was the Kitty Genovese murder.
Here's the thing though - we have a large immigrant population in town. Might just have been a matter of timing. Chances are that if someone who had immigrated from living in a small town came on the scene, they would have done something.
Posts: 4344 | Registered: Mar 2003
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It's really just a manifestation of sheep syndrome. We had a very funny smell in our building at work once. Strong indicator of a fire somewhere, smoldering and ready to burst into flames. My brother and I (who worked at the same place at the time) were the ones who insisted we call the fire department and do something about it. Everyone else in a medium sized office building assumed someone else was dealing with it and didn't worry enough to check, even when their own safety was at stake. What can I say? People are sheep. It's very weird to me. I'm not sure why we are not sheep in my family but we just aren't. I can't understand people who are. If people don't care about their own safety, do they think anyone else does? That's just strange to me.
Posts: 5509 | Registered: May 1999
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