“Ugh, look at this complete…” finish the sentence with your choice 4-letter name.
You’re driving in a parking lot, looking for a spot.
There’s a nice gap a few spots ahead…
…but when you arrive, the car is parked 50/50 across the line into the spot facing it.
You keep mumbling under your breath, looking for a spot.
“Waste of a human.”
Little do we realize, the person who parked there was an employee whose shift started at 5am…
And it snowed a bit when they had arrived.
They couldn’t see the lines to park in the otherwise empty lot.
They did their best to park based on what was available to help them find the spot and clocked in.
By the time we are arriving, the sun had shot up and the salt trucks made their rounds, wiping out the thin layer of snow
— — —
So readily do we have our tongues sharpened and ready to be unsheathed with cutting words against those we truly know nothing about.
We have no idea — and little imagination — about the origin of this “incompetent jackass” and his parking hack job.
But this applies to so many other people, too, don’t you think?
The woman rolling her eyes and losing her patience with her children — for all we know she is an incredible mother…
But her husband recently was hospitalized and she’s been doing 100% of the childcare for 3 days straight.
The man who shows up late to his interview, disheveled and scatterbrained — his resume is impressive and the phone conversation was outstanding…
However, perhaps he recently went sober and is struggling with a bought of delerium tremens.
…Or they’re going through their first round of chemo.
…Or their parent passed yesterday.
…Or they just lost their job.
…Or — worst of all — what if they just lost a child.
We should always try to be understanding.
To endeavor to have some imagination about the characters in our world.
These “characters” have their own lives, and sure — sometimes they really are “incompetent jackasses.”
Maybe they even are a majority of the time!
But we will never know them.
Probably will not see them.
So, how much does it hurt us to sprinkle that grace and imagination onto them?
To proceed with a dash of “innocent until proven guilty?”
It may not feel as good to hold our tongue and spare filling the airspace of our car with curses and clever slurs.
But, it is a good practice of restraint.
Something we all can work on.
Follow for daily philosophical meditations.
These are distillations from my coming book “YouDaimonia: the Ancient Philosophy of Human Flourishing.”
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