In my own recent experience with other cultures that I have not been familiarized with, I've noticed a strange phenomenon among older Chinese men. I was in chinatown for 40 hours last week staring out a window. Sometimes I would stand outside. In those few minutes I would spend outside, countless older Chinese men would blatantly stare at me, even keeping their head turned toward me once they had passed. And this wasn't a "check-out". It was like they were sending me evil eyeball rays of hatred. Had I offended them in some way? I was dressed in business attire, so it couldn't have been my clothes. Did they think I was one of the young Americans living in the overpriced luxury apartment building towering over their neighborhood? I don't know. I wouldn't blame them for not wanting their neighborhood becoming something other than it is. But I didn't quite understand the evil death ray eyes. And as strange as it is, I don't have any friends from farther east than Moscow so I can't ask what I did wrong.
Fortunately for Ishy, Queequeg is a very nice guy. They have to sleep in the same bed so it's a good thing. One part of Moby Dick that really made me think was when Qq and Ishy are sitting by the fire, and they have been in each others company for only about a day, this happens:
"If there yet lurked any ice of indifference towards me in the Pagan's breast, this pleasant, genial smoke we had, soon thawed it out, and left us cronies. He seemed to take to me quite as naturally and unbiddenly as I to him; and when out smoke was over, he pressed his forehead against mine, clasped me round the waist, and said that henceforth we were married; meaning, in his country's phrase, that we were bosom friends; he would gladly die for me, if need should be. In a countryman, this sudden flame of friendship would have seemed far too premature, a thing to be much distrusted; but in this simple savage those old rules would not apply."It made me wish that people were less what we have become. We don't trust anyone, and to die for someone would be out of the question. It's hard to make friends, especially ones you can trust, who would help you even if it was inconvenient for them. Those who would are friends who have been around for years, not only a few days.
There is nothing I can do to make people change, but if everyone would care about their fellow humans to even a tiny degree, the world would be better. I'm not trying to be miss America with some world peace crap. I just wish that more people would consider other people when doing the things they do.
I guess I will never know why people in chinatown stare at me or why people in my neighborhood want to steal my wallet, but I know that when I get the chance, I always treat people with respect. I smile at people who look at me, and give leftovers to homeless people who would probably rather I give them beer. And I've done that too. I'm too nice. But, if I want people to treat each other well, I have to make an example. So I will continue to care about people. Let's all take an example from Qq and be friends with people. Just don't get any face tattoos.