Selfish People: That Is Who We Are

The scrambling of everyone around me jolted me out of my reverie. For someone who should be reading the addictive Sydney Sheldon’s latest book in the public library, I was lost in thoughts of how to salvage what was left of my five-year-old friendship. This is because my friend has become a selfish person, caring only about her newly attained fame.

What occupied my thoughts before the chaos in the library started could have been my damaged relationship. It could also have been my blaring headphones playing my favorite song on repeat. As soon as I saw people running for their lives for whatever reason, I joined in the escape by bolting out of the wing of the only public library in the state that I was in. But I thought: how could no one have tapped me to leave? Talk about selfishness in crisis!

As if it isn’t bad enough that no one tried to carry me along in their escape as the innately selfish people that they are, an individual pushes me out of his way. As I try to understand the nature of man, two ladies strike a conversation in front of me:

“Sade, have you seen Sayo? She went to the toilet and isn’t back yet” Two ladies rushing in front of me say with concern as they try to escape, while looking for the third person in their friendship group.

“Don’t you think Sayo would have seen what’s happening and come out herself. She won’t be foolish to stay inside an impending library fire, will she? Or should we go back to check where she is?” Sade replies

“Go back where” The other friend says in reply and drags Sade.

Upon realizing that they will actually leave without their friend, the only thing that comes to mind is that these ladies are also selfish by nature.

Selfish lots!

Distracting me from my thoughts and the breathless conversation of the friends is the harsh shoving of a woman that shouts at me to run faster as the building is bound to explode soon.

Explode? Explode?? What does she mean by explosion? What’s going on here? Library fire?


“Leave the road now, madam” A middle-aged man pushes me, shaking me out of my thoughts for the second time in just a few minutes. In this dangerous situation! The urge for me to push him in return. Mtchewwwww

“Whatever is happening must be worth all this trouble,” I said, thinking out loud. Also, why is it taking so long to leave this chaos in the library?

Finally, I get out of the library and see tens of others outside. Then I started to wonder if this was everyone that was in there, in the big library on a Monday afternoon.

From what I have learned, there was a spark that brought about fire in one of the wings of the library and didn’t stop as soon as it started. This makes me wonder why everything isn’t burning to the ground yet. It’s not a bad mind thing, it’s just me being realistic.

Looking around, I see Sade and her friend trying without fail to find Sayo in the crowd of people that can be counted. Searching twice to no avail, they start to search a third time. While it is obvious that they have chosen not to accept the reality of not seeing their friend anymore, their guilt may also stem from a realization of how selfish they were to not check their friend in the toilet.

See what being selfish as a people can cause even when selfishness is not intended!

Looking around, what I see shocks me. The securities! “Selfish lots”. The library usually has security people by the entrance and the exit, as well as other security men and women in each wing of the library. I promise you, all of them, at least all the ones I know and have ever seen are outside, and this brings a question to my ever-roaming mind and wandering thoughts:

Who is making sure that everyone comes out? Isn’t making sure everyone is safe in their job description? Why are they here before I am? How long have they been here?

As if reading my mind on the inherently selfish nature of humans, I hear someone say: “My children are waiting for me at home and you are telling me to go in there?” one of the people paid to protect us and lay down their soul in exchange for ours says to a lady that looks about my age with a look nothing short of disgust. Apparently, she had confronted them about checking out for the safety of others who may be inside.

In response to her, another man says: “Are you answering her? Are you saying this in a country where no one cares about or remembers anyone? Here where the closest thing to appreciating a person’s sacrifice is dedicating an establishment to them?

You want to be unselfish where only the elites are remembered?” A security woman asks her with a hiss. Then she points her index finger at the rest of us, and giving us all a piercing look, she asks:

“If you were in my shoes, would you suddenly play savior of the world with the chaos in the library? Would you have gone back there looking for survivors? Will you really not think of yourself first? Aren’t we all naturally selfish people pretending to care about others?

Seeing the sudden realization on all our faces, the woman echoes what has been on my mind since everything started:

“We all are inherently selfish people”

With that, the building explodes with a sound that deafens us all. “Gboah!”. Immediately, my mind goes to Sayo and others who may be inside. Who knows? Maybe Sayo was looking for her friends. Maybe someone in there was trying to get an injured person out. Now, however, their selflessness in chaos has killed them in a library fire.

What, therefore, is the point of selflessness in crisis?

For more creative pieces like this, click here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *