I've witnessed some pretty scary battles over subway seats before, so the fact that this guy was shutting 4 or 5 people out of a place to park their bums was cheeky (no pun intended), indeed. But there he was. Snoring away. He was a big feller, too, so not even one person could have squeezed into part of the seat.
I found a seat right off, so he didn't cost me a place of comfort. But as I watched him (sleeping) - and the reactions of others as they crowded onto the train - I found myself wondering why I didn't feel any compassion towards they guy. Who knows what caused him to have to sleep on the subway? What was it about his past or current life left him with no place to bed down except a hard bench on a noisy train? Was he just a lazy sum'beach or had he worked hard all night and just didn't have money to sleep anywhere else?
But I didn't dwell on those speculations. I was too busy trying to sort out why his being there irritated me so much. After all, I am in the compassion business, right? Do I only feel for the nameless hordes of folks "out there"? Why wouldn't the same feeling kick in when I'm confronted up-close-and-personal with someone who might need compassion? How do I take more notice of what's going on right in front of my face in the same way I do of Sudanese refugees or children with AIDS in South Africa?
Am I missing the point? Are there any rules of compassion?