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"Social Borders"

Updated on December 21, 2017

     I got in the car a few days ago and not wanting to listen to any one of my “billion” music cds, I thought I would leave the radio on. There are not many stations worth listening to on the radio though. Most of them are riddled with commercials and garbage music. The one station I do listen to once in a while is 91.1 Jazz FM. This station is a non-for-profit organization; the people who work there are volunteers and the station relies heavily on donations but there are hardly any commercials on.

     Several times a year, they dedicate a week to raising money by giving away small prizes such as coupons or cd collections, etc. There were two broadcasters and a guest on that day. After taking a call, one of the broadcasters mentioned that the last lady who had called and donated money was eighty-four years old. He congratulated her, saying how obviously due to her “advanced” age, she has lived through the beautiful “Jazz-days” of the earlier 1900’s. Then, he encouraged other “older” people to call in and support the station. What bothered me is what he said next and it was along the lines that “Jazz is our music, the music of our time. Younger people have their rap … we have jazz and it is important for us to support it.”

     Ignorance … why is it that Jazz music is only for the elderly? Is there a rule somewhere that one cannot listen to Jazz until they retire? I have been listening to jazz from my late teens. Yes, I listen to Hip-Hop but I love my Jazz and Classic Rock, etc.

     I thought (perhaps too much) about what the broadcaster said in terms of “younger people have rap” and “older people have jazz” idea. He had created a social barrier right there and then. Based on age he classified people into separate, non-integrable groups. That is not the case obviously since I have and know many other young people who listen to Jazz. Of course there are not hordes of teenagers listening to Jazz, mainly because it is not part of “popular culture” and because it is not part of what the mass media wants to “feed” us yet, nonetheless younger people do listen to Jazz.

     Then immediately I thought of goths. I was invited not too long ago to go to a birthday party at a bar/club. I knew the place to be on the alternative/rock/goth side and I dressed as I would always dress for a birthday occasion: dress shoes, white/"cream" dress pants with a crease that can cut a hair in half; I put on a white long sleeve buttonless linen shirt, grabbed my brown-cow-skin leather jacket and off I went.

     I generally do not like to stick-out but I will never change the way I look just to please others. I got to the place (“The Velvet Underground”) a little early, I paid the cover charge which seemed a little pricey and I went in to find that there was a concert that was still going on. And it was “goth-fest” in full force! Everyone wore black … leather, some chains … more leather … boots, spikes, etc. You get the point. And I am standing there casually at the bar with a Corrona in my hand glancing around, “glowing white”. There too I though about social barriers. I was the only person there with a brown leather jacket as supposed to black (never-mind about all the white I was wearing).

     After the beer I went outside to have a smoke and saw two younger guys sitting on the ground begging for money. They had a sign made which read: “Too ugly to prostitute”. It was sad but true. I gave them a five dollar bill which was immediately pocketed. Then I was asked for a cigarette so I gave them two. They also needed a lighter. I handed one of the guys my lighter and said “Keep it”.

     My friends all turned out to be late, actually quite late … about an hour or more so after a few more beers I went outside for a smoke again only to realize that since I had given my lighter away I had no light to light my cigarette. So I went back to where the panhandling guys were sitting to ask them to borrow a lighter. They were still there, (where else could homeless people go really) and after a while I found myself sitting down beside them.

    One of them asked if I wanted a piece of his newspaper to sit on so I “don’t dirty the white pants”. I laughed and told him I did not care about the “white pants”. Truly I did not, otherwise I would not have sat down to begin with. I was just sitting down because I wanted to talk to them, I wanted to know their “story” (which I only half-got because one was too drunk and the other too timid to talk) and sitting down was more comfortable than standing up anyway.

     That is where two of my friends found me as they were walking to the bar and one of them looked down where I was sitting in front of a store on the sidewalk and her eyes almost ballooned out of her head. She screamed my name and looked shocked. I laughed, told the two guys I would see them on my next “cigarette break” and went inside with the ladies.

     From that experience I must say that crossing social barriers is quite interesting, to say the least. The view alone, sitting down on the concrete on a bussy week-end night, down-town Toronto, watching people flow by … that alone was worth it. Talking to those two homeless guys was also worth it for many personal reasons. The most important reason being that I like to cross social barriers, to see what others think, do and or/how people simply “are”. It is my opinion that others should try crossing social barriers too, at least from time to time.


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    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      "it is the same 'spirit/being/force/energy/god' that pervades within everyone" - Yes, Mr. Aravind. That is all One needs to know really: we are All One and we are All Connected.

      This is not even a conviction. I do not believe this - I know this; I have to believe this because I am.

      Thank You very much for taking the time to read and comment.

      All the best!

    • aravindb1982 profile image

      Aravind Balasubramanya 

      7 years ago from Puttaparthi, India

      To be able to cross 'social' barriers and any other 'barrier' one must be truly immersed in the conviction that it is the same 'spirit/being/force/energy/god' that pervades within everyone. Then it becomes easy.

      Each one of us have our moments when we are able to feel that conviction and be one with the Universe... It was wonderful reading about your moment... :) Living every moment with that conviction born from understanding and realization is maybe what "liberation" or moksha (sanskrit) is! :)

      votep up, interesting and awesome... Happy to have read this today.

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      9 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thank You for stopping by and leaving me a comment Mrs. CBartelmey. I find that Life always has lessons for us and even the most dreadfully perceived experience can have something that we can learn from. It's all a learning process thus, I accept things and keep going. : )

      All the very best!

      P.S. I do love seeing things from different perspectives. For one, I had never sat on a busy sidewalk in a weekend night (before the night of this story), with a couple of homeless guys to watch the flow of people going about their busyness. Quite the experience. I am grateful for it.

    • CBartelmey profile image


      9 years ago from Colorado, United States

      Another good one. I like how you are able to learn and then draw from the seemingly most simple situations in life. I try to do the same.

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      9 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I think this is the most interesting comment I ever received Dsf. (lol) Take care. The countless "w"s are certainly exciting ...

    • profile image


      9 years ago


    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      9 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      "The down and outs you were sitting with would not have been welcome in that club if they had chosen to take you up on your advice to try crossing social barriers." - Yes they would have been. It was an alternative/rock place ... anyone without an attitude would have been welcomed there.

      I also gave them my phone number and told 'em I'd help-out if they wanted. I never got a call.

      Thank you for dropping by Mr. Xavier! Cheers.

      Anything's possible in my world.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 

      9 years ago from Isle of Man

      Wolfman Jack, I really like this article and I love your approach to life. I do feel however that you are missing a very important piece from the puzzle of the illusion you have created here.

      Not everyone is as privileged as you to to be able to cross social boundaries. The down and outs you were sitting with would not have been welcome in that club if they had chosen to take you up on your advice to try crossing social barriers.

      The privilege to cross social barriers is not a two way street! I still loved the article and thank you for sharing your experience so honestly.

    • Midianite profile image


      10 years ago from Australia

      I liked this piece a lot and agree with what you've said about social barriers. They often are overlooked and need to be broken. Nice way of illustrating your point.

    • Abecedarian profile image

      Lady Liberty 

      10 years ago from These United States, Texas

      Very good point. I live out in the country. On my way home there's a last stop gas stop and behind it is a wooded area. There was always a blue tarp hanging over some short bushes and you could see a small path to it, everyone in my neck of the woods said it was a crazy man that lives there. As the weather got colder, I decided to gather some blankets and a coat that my husband didn't use. I made some chicken soup and put it in a cooler. I drove there and left them at the edge of the road. My neighbors thought I was nuts, but I just blew them off. After the winter, the tarp was gone. I mentioned it to a friend and she said that she heard that his family had taken him away. This man was a Vietnam Veteran who had never been able to adjust to life when he returned. His family knew where he was and checked on him regularly, but his health was poor and they finally were able to get him into a Veterans home. My friends felt horrible for thinking he was a "crazy" guy.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I thoroughly agree. Social barriers have been exploited by supremacists for ages. They should be crossed when and wherever possible.

      Possibly the worst of such walls is the one fallaciously called "race". Minor ethnic and superficial physical differences have been conflated with a completely erroneous belief that there is more than one race of humans. This has been scientifically and unequivocally proven false. There is only one race of people inhabiting Earth.

      It has been the practice of those who would rule to always make much of the differences between people in order to keep them always divided. Divide and conquer has served the elite well through the ages.

      "There is only one race - the human race"-Mahatma Gandhi

    • infonaturale profile image


      11 years ago from Nigeria

      Great hub. I like your style. Life is simple when we decide to make it so.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Another very good hub! Bringing out the real world once again!

    • Lady_E profile image


      11 years ago from London, UK

      I love your attitude to Life. May it treat you kindly. :)

    • lmmartin profile image


      11 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      A very thought provoking article. One of the social boundaries I feel is the age one. We forget when we look at an older person's outside wrappings that inside, that person may still be feeling as youthful and curious as ever. It's annoying when someone looks at you and thinks grey hair, thicker body -- boring, when over the years you lived things they couldn't imagine.

      So you're right -- we chould never judge by the outer cover.

    • Lisa Luv profile image

      Lisa J Warner AKA Lisa Luv 

      11 years ago from Conneticut, USA

      Nice article - and you must be a wonderfully nice person bisides. May you always be greatly blessed...


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