Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Redneck Wonderland ( with apologies to Australian band, Midnight Oil)

"Prejudice saves a lot of time, because you can form an opinion without the facts." - Anonymous

In my general quote-encountering life, I came across this quote recently. It is a pity that the author is not attributed because it is a very astute observation.

I had to stop myself just yesterday "saving time". I was driving across a street near where I live and I nearly had an accident which would have been my fault. But there were complicating factors. The street is a wide avenue-type street and town planners in their wisdom have planted the central strip with a large variety of native plants and shrubs. Some of these, like cabbage trees, have grown considerably and have, to an extent, become visual obstructions to the driver's view .

Our neighbourhood is badly earthquake affected and so we are driving slowly by and large to avoid big holes in the road plus there are lots of road construction sites all over the place.

For this particular avenue, you have to be particularly cautious and see that one way is clear, proceed to the centre of the road and try to establish, from among the obscuring foliage, that the other half of the road is clear. I was doing just this when I failed to see a large 4-WD vehicle travelling at speed roaring along the second half. I braked suddenly as the vehicle loomed into my view and, hence, avoided a collision.

This was not good enough for the driver of the 4-WD, however. She made this horrible, aggressive face at me as though I had purposely chosen to point my car into the path of her hurtling chariot.

At that moment, I could have cheerfully pushed her face in. I thought, hang on, I'm supposedly a civilised, polite citizen who abhors violence. Why has she made me so angry that I would like to visit violence on her?

I reasoned that it was her reaction or, as I saw it, over-reaction. If I could have said to her: "Look, the cabbage tree fronds were blocking my view, you were hurtling along over the speed limit and it was just human error. There was nothing intentional and I reacted so quickly that any collision or potential injury scenario was avoided. So why the aggro from you?"

But who knows what she would have said. Probably would have called me "a f..ken idiot."

So this clearly illustrates the quote above. Her prejudice and my prejudice both ignored the facts and a completely unpleasant incident was created where none needed to exist.

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