Take a close look at yourself. It's difficult.
Sometimes life forces you to take a long hard look at yourself
Apologies that your monthly read is a week late. I’ve been keeping busy as a driving judge at Millbrook Proving Ground for the Caravan and Motorhome Club Towcar of the Year Awards 2022 (no, that’s not a typo.) The winner will be announced in September.
You may also have noticed that I’m editing a ton of content from my June trip to mainland UK. I want to get it all done because - whisper it quietly - I’m hopeful of getting to Germany in a couple of weeks. Let’s hope nothing changes in the meantime.
We Never Stop Learning
I disgusted myself the other day.
I was driving home from my trip to mainland, and stopped off as usual to fill up with diesel at the Co-Op in Broadford in Skye. Adjacent to the fuel pumps are a few parking spaces.
It looked like some car enthusiasts were on their way through. Sports cars filled the parking bays, and in the disabled space taking pride of place was a curvy, shiny Lotus.
My brother is paraplegic, so the abuse of disabled parking spaces is something that gets me very hot under the collar.
How DARE that driver take a disabled space!
‘Ignorance is not a disability!’ I mumbled to myself, slowly getting more and more irate. I imaged the driver would soon appear, no doubt some white middle-aged man who earns stupid money in the city and doesn’t give a hoot about others. Oh yes, I knew his sort. And I was fuming.
As I tapped the last drops of diesel off the nozzle and replaced it into the holster on the pump, the owner of the Lotus returned to his car.
He was white, and he was male. I was right there.
He was also a double amputee, cheerfully striding along on his artificial lower limbs and blades. He beamed sunshine in his smile to his mates who were waiting for him, despite the well-documented pain and discomfort that artificial limbs are known to cause.
I hung my head in shame. I was disgusted at myself. Of all people, I should be the last one to judge those I haven’t even met. Yet I did. Ugh.
Evolution vs Logic
Judging people and situations is evolutionary. It’s built-in to all of us. We call on past experiences and make rapid judgements. If someone is screaming obscenities and waving a baseball bat, we use our judgement to give them a wide berth. If someone is dressed and acting the same as everyone else around us, we don’t amend our behaviour in any way.
While evolution gives us the instinct to avoid danger, our logical mind enters the fray and creates conflict. Is the guy with the spiky hair and a leather jacket bad news, or is he an absolute angel who just likes spiky hair and leather jackets? Is the old lady sat in church a sweet and kind woman, or is she really an absolute cow who hates everybody?
We need more information before we can make a correct judgement. However, just like I did, we can often call those judgements way too soon.
The things we hate most about other people are the things we hate most about ourselves.
One of the things I dislike the most about owning an Airstream is being judged by people who know absolutely nothing about me. Some people just assume you have more money than sense, unaware of the sacrifices you made to be able to afford the purchase price, and ignorant of the fact that the whole life costs of an Airstream can be lower than the whole life cost of a regular caravan.
Some people assume you have an Airstream to be flashy and to be seen, unaware that introverts like me absolutely hate drawing attention to ourselves.
Fortunately, there are also plenty of open-minded folk who just accept you for who you are, and even if Airstreams aren’t their thing, because they respect the fact that you love the quality and design of it.
Back at the fuel station, here was me doing what I absolutely hate being done unto me — judging someone before I had even clapped eyes on them, based on the vehicle that they drive.
Shame on me.
This was certainly a timely reminder to always keep our eyes, our hearts, and our minds open.
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