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Am I as considerate as I think I am?

Each and every day I marvel at what life is and what I expect out of it. I walk through life – or drive my Jeep on our roads and see the vast skies and the many wonder-filled things around me and I inhale it in a way that is truly an adventure.

I see people around me absorbed in their own sphere and wonder if they “see it” too.  Being the cynic that I am, I find that I prejudge my fellow human, automatically demoting them and this is probably in error. Many appear bored and robotic. I have to remind myself that many are suffering pain, or hardships.

My bride upbraids me regularly for this skepticism and I automatically play it down as humor on my part. The truth is, it isn’t humor. I admit my fellow humans regularly erode my belief that we are upwardly evolving. On a daily basis, what I see is what was depicted in the comedic movie “Idiocracy” and this is wrong of me.

In this futuristic piece, humanity has bred itself mentally backwards to the point that stupidity is the norm. A social retardation is so prevalent that no one seems to notice, and they constantly ridicule each other for being stupider than they are. To quote the synopsis on Wikipedia: “The film tells the story of two people who take part in a top-secret military hibernation experiment, only to awaken 500 years later in a dystopian society wherein advertising, commercialism, and cultural anti-intellectualism have run rampant and dysgenic pressure has resulted in a uniformly unthinking society devoid of intellectual curiosity, social responsibility, and coherent notions of justice and human rights.”

I am a people watcher and according to my bride, someone who reads too much into the casual behavior of those around me. “You think too much, honey!” I watch people and occasionally am guilty of baiting a subject line to see how they will react. I resent the implication that I am a troll or a devil’s advocate, but readily acknowledge that I “seed” the forums and Facebook for opinions.

I want to know what people think, or believe they believe and then often will challenge them to explain what and why they believe. Is that wrong? I’ve always contended that anyone who challenges you to define what you believe is your friend and I still believe this.

We are all floating on the river of life, me included.  I need to rediscover that balance where instead of seeing distracted and complacent masses, I once again discover how incredible people can be. I’ve become a glass half-empty dude and that needs to change.

I have to see the humor around me and be less critical. Now to be honest and I’ve made this pretty clear in the past; I base a lot of my negatives on what people do when they drive their cars and trucks.  And to be frank, I think the behavior specialists will be on my side when I say this is a very good indicator of what a person is made of. Rude and selfish drivers shouldn’t consider themselves kind and caring people. They are not. If you tail-gait and dangerously zip all over the danged place, you are the opposite of considerate. If everyone would keep their distance and do the speed limit, there wouldn’t be a traffic jam.

If a person swerves in and around cars on the freeway, barely missing rear-end collisions and then walk into their job smiling and greeting everyone, they are fooling themselves as to what kind of person they are. They fall into this group, “unthinking society devoid of social responsibility, and coherent notions of justice and human rights”.

I would like to sit down with these reckless drivers and have a casual conversation about what kind of person they believe themselves to be and then show them videos of their driving “skills”. I imagine that would be quite a conversation piece. I do not want to imply that I am a perfect example of a driver, but when you are behind the wheel of a lifted Jeep with over-sized tires, it’s kind of a good idea to always imagine you are driving on ice and make deliberate signaled lane changes.

On my way back from Houston the other day, I was rolling in the middle lane on I-10 doing exactly 68 mph on cruise control when out of the corner of my left eye I saw what can only be described as a black missile coming up behind me. The bespectacled middle age man crossed 3 lanes and my brain registered that he was going to clip the back driver’s side of my truck. Now jerking the wheel on a lifted Jeep at near 70 mph is down-right dangerous, but it was my only option or get quartered.

I jinked and he missed by a whisper and shot off ahead of me, zigging and zagging until he was no longer visible with brake lights signaling his departure. Because of my distress, I’m glad fellow gearhead Dandy Don wasn’t with me and although I didn’t curse, I wanted my justifiable pound of flesh. I took a couple deep breaths and thanked God I wasn’t lying in a twisted wreck. I have no idea what this fellow’s hurry was, but I imagine he was simply driving like he always does.

I think I am a considerate person for the most part. I try to be. If you come to my house, I will offer you a cold or hot beverage and usually pretty quickly. I’ll offer you a seat and try not to dominate the conversation and if you follow me while I’m driving, I stop at red lights and stop signs 100% of the time and always signal my intentions of a lane change. I like to run on cruise control either doing a minimum of the speed limit or with the flow of traffic.

However, I am probably a miserable failure in other considerate behavior and may need to hire on as an extra in Idiocracy II, if they make it. I’ll have to ask my bride. She is truly a considerate person quite observant when I am hypocritical of other drivers.


Anonymous said…
DDC: Excellent column this morning, Bert. I share some of your 'ways'. I tend to judge people by the way they drive. It's hard to believe that these people are Christians when they behave the way they do on the road. I have to constantly pray and ask the Lord to forgive me and to help me realize that some of these folks may be going through some horrible circumstances in their lives. That's not to excuse some of the behavior, but when their actions reveal that they are not thinking about how their driving can affect people's lives around them, I try to give them the benefit of the doubt. I also note that there are a lot of courteous drivers on the road, as well. Again, great column!
Anonymous said…
another good read Bert. I think you are on to something about judging others by the way they drive. I am considerate, but if running late, watch out...Debi
Anonymous said…
Enjoyed the article Bert. Reflecting on myself as I read, my considerations of others seem to be based on the mood I am in. You have given me a project to work on now.

You do good work.

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