The other day I was driving somewhere and getting ready to turn left. I put on my blinker, but the car behind me kept riding my tail. I hit the break and began slowing down to turn, and the car behind me angrily honked at me. I made my turn but felt really angry. I had put on my blinker for crying out loud! What kind of jerk rides someone’s tail after they put on their blinker and then has the nerve to honk when they start slowing down?
The next day I realized my left blinker was out. The car behind me had had no idea I was going to turn, and the driver probably hit his horn while thinking what kind of jerk slows down and turns in busy traffic without using a turn signal?
I had been legitimately upset (I thought I had my blinker on). The driver of the other car had been legitimately upset (he thought I had willfully neglected to use my blinker). But the entire situation was based on a misunderstanding. How often does this happen in our daily lives, I wonder?
As another example, I recently saw a gas station with a sign advertising gas for $3.69. This was twenty cents better than anywhere else in town, so I stopped to gas up. When I looked at my receipt, I realized I had been charged $3.89 per gallon. I looked at the display on the pump itself and saw the same price: $3.89. I was really angry. The large display visible from the road had been wrong, and I felt cheated out of 20 cents for each gallon I’d pumped. And then I realized something. The large display sign was digital. Upon closer inspection, one of the bars was defective. It was supposed to say $3.89 the whole time.
Then, the other day I was out on my bike with my daughter when I realized I had left her bike helmet at home. I had my helmet on, but her head was bare. As I biked home I wondered if people were looking at us and thinking what an irresponsible mother I was, wearing a helmet myself while letting my daughter go without. I wanted someway to tell the people I passed that this was the first time this had happened.
Similarly, I was out on a walk with my daughter a few weeks ago and even though it was cold and she was wearing a short sleeved shirt she said she didn’t want her coat. I carried her coat as I pushed her in the stroller, hoping that people weren’t looking and wondering what kind of mother would let her daughter go without a coat in that weather. No really, she says she doesn’t want a coat, I wanted to say to everyone I passed on our walk.
I suppose all of this has just served to remind me how important it is not to hastily jump to conclusions and judge others. It’s a lesson I will try to remember.