Idiots

I’ve written before about how the way people treat other people disturbs me. I was talking, generally, about the way people treat or talk about strangers. You know the strangers I mean. The ones who irritate you or get under your skin. The guy in the next lane who cuts you off. “Idiot”. The frazzled lady who went through the 10 items or fewer lane with 15 items. “Can’t she count?” The dad who was a little harsh with his kid at Walmart. “He should have his kids taken away”.

You get the picture. People irritate us. Why? Not because they are idiots, but because we are human. (although I know people who would beg to differ and claim it IS because the other person is an idiot) Things happen. It’s this little thing called life.

The thing is, we have NO idea what is going on in that other person’s world. We don’t know what they are thinking, we assume. We don’t know what they are dealing with, it doesn’t cross our mind. That would be compassionate and a lot of us aren’t, at least not right away. We’re reactionary, we’re offended and we’re just looking out for our rights.

Little story. It’s true and I haven’t changed any names to protect anyone. 🙂 Taylor, Jack, Piper, Charlee, Chad and me were shopping at Target last weekend. I don’t remember what we were there to purchase. We’re there all the time, it sort of runs together. Before we left the store, I went into the restroom. When I came out, Chad said he also needed to go. I told him we would meet him at the truck. The five of us stood waiting to cross the parking lot, because there was a little traffic. I was holding Charlee, Taylor was behind me, Piper beside me and Jack… well, he was somewhere. Somewhere close. I’m not that terrible of a parent. A van stopped and its driver motioned for us to cross the street. Piper started to run across, when all of a sudden I yelled “Piper, STOP!”. By that time she had already reached the other side, and the driver that swerved around that van had already slammed on her brakes.

To her credit, the lady driving the car looked horrified. She threw her hand up ion the air and mouthed “Sorry, sorry!”

I have no idea what she was thinking. I assume that she was in a hurry, she figured the driver of the van was out for a leisurely stroll? I have no idea. I do know that her decision could have hurt my child. My heart was racing and the “what-ifs” flooded my over-active imagination.

BUT

She didn’t hurt my child. I don’t know what she was thinking, I don’t know what was going on in her life to make her in such a hurry. This is what I do know. She apologized. I hope that she learned her lesson and she thinks her choices through, instead of reacting in a hasty manner.

Here’s the thing, her bad decision certainly earned her the title of “idiot”, but don’t we all earn that title sometimes? So are we really idiots? Or are we humans? Humans who live, learn, make mistakes and hopefully never repeat those mistakes again.

I know this to be true, because I was that idiot the other day. I was pulling out into traffic. I saw 3 cars coming and pulled out, because it appeared I had time. If I had actually paused, instead of just turning, I would have seen that there was a fourth car leading the pack. Fortunately for me, and them, they had good brakes. I didn’t stop to assess my total surroundings, I was in a hurry and I made a bad decision. I learned my lesson.

I am human.

I am not an idiot.

And most of those idiots we encounter every day are just trying to get through this life, like us. Sometimes mistakes are made and when we are really, really lucky it costs nothing but a bit of embarrassment and an apology.

And those other times? Those are the ones I warn my kids about. How someone can do everything right and someone else can come through and alter live FOREVER. Sometimes that someone else is us, because none of us are immune to bad decisions. None of us are immune to being the idiot. We all get the chance.

Does knowing that sometimes you are the idiot make you want to be a bit more compassionate to the other “idiots” out there?

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