I thought he was joking at first.
“That was my car.” He laughed pointing towards an incinerated vehicle in the parking lot. “This is the fourth time someone has destroyed my car.”
I couldn’t tell whether he was serious or not by his comedic demeanor. Had someone destroyed my car I don’t know whether I would have found any humor in the situation.
“Why would someone do that though?” I asked incredibly confused.
“I think they wanted to discard their drugs, sometimes this is how people choose to do it,” he began. “It’s not like someone wants to be mean or something, they don’t care. They are selfish and driven by greed. It’s normal.”
“But four times someone has destroyed your car, FOUR, how are you not so distrustful towards the people around you?” I inquired.
“I would hate to have this thing that I always have to watch my back. If I felt that I always had to watch my back because I have to protect myself and that no-one would do anything for me, that’s the worst feeling. So it doesn’t make sense to be thinking of everyone as not trusted and build it from there. You should see it as the other way around.”
I was still uncertain as to how I would have handled the situation but perhaps he was right. He mentioned that the car wasn’t incredibly expensive, but it was still a car. It’s an investment. It’s hours of hard work spent for an added benefit of freedom.
“People keep destroying your car though. This is something that has happened multiple times. How does that not change your perspective?”
“I’m still thinking of it as everytime that you’re not getting stabbed, you’re having a good experience with the person that’s walking by you,” He smiled. “So every time that you receive something negative, there are one out of a thousand that aren’t nice. That’s not a lot. That’s quite good actually. I’m not losing faith in humanity because if I were to start expecting everyone to destroy my car to pieces then I’m bringing out this really negative energy. I know that’s not going to be the best way of handling it.”
During my short time with Claus I learned a lot. He made me realize that living a life so distrustful of the world around you is exhausting. It’s important to always be aware and careful, but always assuming the worst amplifies this contagious and negative energy. While a car is an expensive investment, it will always be replaceable. If he can overlook these instances of distrust and remain focused on the positive aspects in humanity then so can we.
Before I left he shared a story of his friend. A story of whom I hope to be like one day:
“I had a friend living somewhere in the countryside. Before I visited him I asked where I would find the keys to the house. He said, ‘there is no key, the door is always open.’ I asked why the door is always open, isn’t that a problem? He said, ‘well if the door isn’t open how can the neighbors come in and get a coffee when I am not home? They couldn’t do that right?’”
No, they certainly couldn’t, could they.