There are things that I wouldn't normally write about. I try not to get too meta, or into site history. And yet, here I was, given a request to write about "Daily Evil". The request was for "a new entry", and I suppose that me explaining why the concept doesn't quite work for me fits that request. This is something that I have thought a lot about, so this request is pretty serendipitous, since it allows me to jot down some thoughts.
The best way to describe my problem is with this anecdote, something that might count as "Daily Evil", because I did something I wasn't supposed to do. A little bit more than six weeks ago, I was spending my first week in an AirBnB in Guadalajara, Mexico. Unlike some AirBnBs, which are people's houses, this was more of a small scale business hotel, a dozen or so units in a four story building, with a single entrance. I was staying there for three weeks. It took a bit of adjusting, staying in a foreign city. On a Friday morning, my first week in Spanish immersion class, I was woken up by the doorbells in my apartment sounding, as well as general noise on the street outside. I had a headache from the night before, as I started dressing and getting ready to go to school, a 12 block walk through the center of Guadalajara. I was kind of behind on time. When I reached the front gate of the apartment building, there was a man waiting at the entrance. He was taller than me, with blond hair, and he was speaking Spanish, asking to see José, the owner of the AirBnB. I am shy about my Spanish...while I can hold a conversation with someone I know, I get flustered when I am put on the spot. And so, sitting there in the early morning, I didn't stop him from entering as I left. I didn't specifically tell him to come in, but I didn't body check him. A few blocks later, I started feeling nervous about it. I sent a message on WhatsApp to the AirBnB host.
Now, here is what I was expecting: I have lived in a lot of buildings. Most of them, of course, prohibited letting people in willy-nilly. But usually there is a bit of flexibility: when you see someone struggle up to the front door, carrying two bags of groceries, you usually assume that they are a neighbor whose keys are in their pocket, and not a hardened criminal casing the joint. And you might have also heard that Mexico is a more casual society than the United States, a stereotype that is not always true, but in general, it is a social country where friends and relations might show up at any time. So, while I felt the entire thing was a little bit sketchy, I thought it would be a casual going-on. "Jaja", the landlord might say "That is my cousin." or "That is the plumber" or "That is my cousin, the plumber". Relax. Don't worry. Business as usual. But instead I got messages back saying that he was an ex-tenant who continued to harass people, who wouldn't stop tomar (which could mean either drinking alcohol or taking drugs), and that I had put everyone in danger and so he had to call the police. I naturally felt quite bad. Would I come back to see the landlord and police standing next to my luggage, with me being tossed from my room for the crime of letting a dangerous Swiss delinquent into the building. This didn't come to pass, but I was pretty nervous for the next few days. I was trying to think of the situation where the police would be called over someone entering into an apartment building, and nothing seemed good. Was I that remiss in not blocking the door and calling 911? Because that seemed like overkill to me.
So, if the connection isn't clear, why I am talking about this in terms of Daily Evil, is that the entire concept of "Daily Evil", 20 years ago, was to show all the twee ways you could be transgressive. Haha, you said, with a flip of the hair, look at how those rules don't apply to me. I am doing things I shouldn't. I am doing things I shouldn't! I am a bad person, so bad! Come and look at how bad I am, but not in a way where I will ever have consequences!
But that doesn't work for me. Both morally and factually, I just don't feel like I can get away with shit. When I do something as simple as leave a door unguarded, I get the stomach qualms of someone who seriously worries about being kicked out of their dwelling into the Guadalajara night. Some might think that is silly, but that is because they are probably insulated with a layer of privilege. They know the difference between the rules they have to follow, and the rules they don't have to follow. And the difference is not in what they do, but in who they are.
As an example, I will hark back to the Daily Evil of yesteryear. Lets go back 20 years (!), to this: Daily Evil - Monday, September 25th. Here, the author talks about: breaking school rules by taking a child away from a group setting, into a dark room, where they talk alone. (The stuff about stealing cookies is obviously not really relevant). If I were to be in a situation where I was trying to become special friends with a seven year old girl in a dark room, would the response to be "haha, such whimsy!", or would the response be somewhere between a very serious talk about boundary issues to just flat out calling the police? Hopefuckullily that would be taken as serious, and not as a cute little anecdote to share on an internet site where you are angling for popularity.
Things have changed since 2000.