I never run low on topics to discuss with my five-year-old son, reveling in his regard for gathering information and applying it to appropriate situations. I have noticed that compassion has become our most layered concept, and I find fascinating the ample opportunities that we have to explore and explain its importance as not only people of faith but as individuals concerned for the overall strength of the human family. Because of our talks and my own realization of how much compassion I have received (I surely hope many acquaintances would say I have generously given it, too.), I thought of 10 occasions or circumstances that fill me with added consideration for South Philadelphians.
10) Long lines in stores and banks: I have a well-developed sense of patience, but long lines in stores and banks inwardly reduce me to an instant infant. Perhaps I am guilty of projecting my frustration onto other locals, but these eyes have seen enough arms akimbo, sweaty brows, and glances at watches and phones to know that many residents certainly wish time could wait for them.
9) The missing of buses and trains: We have all heard the expression “You can’t win ’em all,” and, apparently, we cannot catch them all, either. Having often missed buses and trains by a few seconds, I often offer condolences to folks not fleet enough to make a transit connection, especially on Sunday, when SEPTA feels it must reduce service just to give another example of how much it cares about us.
8) The wait for the South Philly Review: The struggle is real, as so many say. We often hear from residents who are raring to read the latest issue and who want to know exactly what time it will appear on their steps. Being this beloved publication’s editor and a long-time admirer of the Review before I had any journalistic experiences, plus as someone who loves knowing what makes communities tick, I wish I could deliver each copy myself.
7) The loss of pets: The sting of parting with a pet forever, which I have felt a few times, takes significant courage to counter, but having to search for a lost forever friend can prove equally lamentable. I was fortunate in 2011 when my youngest cat, Basil, went missing for four days, but I know that many locals are forced to fight back tears when wondering when their lost buddies might return.
6) The release of the NFL schedule: We certainly live in a football town yet lack the titles to inspire much envy. When the National Football League releases its regular season schedule, I often encounter people who make bold predictions on how the Eagles will fare over their 16-game slate, with many of them saying “This could be our year.” To those with such confidence, you have my condolences.
5) The creation of my police report: I have had the responsibility of writing the police report for this paper since September 2013. Last September, with the implementation of this column, the size of the report went from two pages to one page, meaning I would have my heart broken fewer times when chronicling the horrible crimes that befall South Philadelphians. May they all find justice.
4) The national media’s disdain for us as a sports town: Yes, we have had some foolish fans over the years, but one would think we are all Neanderthals based on the way that many national outlets comment on our conduct. When will bashing our collective passion go out of fashion for their writers?
3) The shuttering of schools and churches: Education and my faith have always compelled me to try to make the wisest decisions, so I feel a tad tender when I hear that those who are equally passionate about learning institutions and/or houses of worship must say “goodbye” to their beloved spaces. No matter what comes of revamps, I lament the loss of lessons for residents’ scholastic and spiritual growth.
2) Trash collection during the summer: Stories have me heading all over South Philly, a perk that I love, as I can see how our communities show pride in their identity and upkeep. Unfortunately, the summer brings what I have dubbed the South Philly Funk, that ubiquitous odor that is the child of the union of heat and carelessness, truth be told. I wish that we could have a universal trash day so that my nostrils would not have to engage in daily feats of strength.
1) Massive snowfalls: No matter one’s address, contending with massive snowstorms can prove the ultimate nuisance for South Philadelphians. With shoveling, parking, and plowing (hahaha) as the primary gripes, snow, which made many of us happy as children, often reduces us to earlier yet far less content versions of ourselves by making us whiny and miserable. Each flake often reminds me of what a peer wrote in a Saint Joseph’s University compilation for which I served as an assistant editor — We know we have become adults when we stop wishing for snow.■
Contact Editor Joseph Myers at email@example.com or ext. 124.