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I'm Trying to Be Compassionate, Dammit!

by Carlo Alcos Aug 31, 2011
Did you know there’s a website you can go to to anonymously vent or listen to someone vent?

IT’S CALLED Compassion Pit. It’s simple. You don’t have to register or log in or post anything about yourself. You simply go there and choose to be either a Venter or a Listener.

I’ve worked hard on being an understanding person. I guess you could say I have a passion for compassion. It’s something I’m very conscious about and I like to exercise it in my daily life, both with people I interact with and people I don’t. I even tried to practice compassion for the hooligans and looters who burned cars and smashed windows in Vancouver during the Stanley Cup riots.

What a great way to extend this, I thought, via the web. I could practice compassion in a tangible way toward people from god knows where. I clicked on Listener. Then I waited.

Not sure what happened there. Did she get freaked out that I was a first-time Listener? Maybe as a first-time Venter she thought at least one of us should be experienced. After all, sex between two virgins isn’t that fun. (I’ve done it. I know.)

The site automatically places you in the queue for another connection when this happens. You don’t have to sit there staring at the screen waiting. If you go to another tab or program, the system dings at you when a connection is made (assuming you’ve left the Enable Sound tickbox checked). I got a ding. In fact, I got a few dings.

I had no idea what to expect. What would these people vent to me? How would I react if it was something racist or homophobic or…it could be anything. Problem was everyone disconnected as soon as the connection was made, just as I was on the edge of my seat, waiting for some words to flash across the screen, waiting to reply with something like, “I hear you, go on” or “whenever you’re ready, I’m listening.”

But nothing. By the looks of it, there are more Listeners than there are Venters at Compassion Pit. I find that interesting. Judging (by the way, I adhere to being non-judgmental as much as being compassionate) by conversations I’ve had over my lifetime, I would venture to guess that 95% of people are terrible listeners. Most people are more concerned with thoughts in their own heads than thoughts in another’s.

But whatever. I tried my best. I just happen to think they missed out on one of the best ears around town.

Hello? Is anyone listening?!

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