I went to the tire shop today to have the winter treads put on. I was heading north on a fairly main street in St. Thomas when I was stopped at an intersection behind a driver who was signalling left. No one was coming the opposite way but he or she didn’t turn. Just sat there, for at least a minute.
My nice transformed mind was thoroughly untransformed. “What are they doing? Texting? Doing their nails?” So I immediately jumped to criticism, which disappoints me as I look back at the incident. Only after a fair time spent tapping my steering wheel (thankfully not honking the horn) did I open to the possibility that the driver was sick or hurt. At least my humanity eventually showed up.
I edged Scarlet to the right and pulled up alongside. The woman behind the wheel seemed fine. Then I looked through her side window at the scene on the side street. A school bus was stopped right near the corner and the kids were crossing the street. Arghh! Humility, thy name is Bruce. How wrong I was.
Now at home in my man chair, I’m thinking of another time on the road. I followed a semi-trailer for miles through some gently rolling countryside near London. The speed limit was 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph) and this guy rarely topped 70. Okay, it’s probably a heavy truck but it’s not like we’re climbing the Alps. I created a thorough character analysis of the trucker in my mind, and I bought the whole story, adding to the list of stereotypes that I had accumulated over the years. Plus it was such a long straight road – nice scenery but still … And then the road started curving to the left. You probably know the rest: a compact car was tucked in front of the rig. More arghh.
Strangely, seeing my assumptions completely proven false was okay, then and today. I’m just your basic human being and life keeps throwing lessons my way. Sometimes I’m a slow learner. I don’t mind.