Wronging

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Once I thought I was wrong…

Back in prehistory  the olden days the 70s I knew a few people that had T-shirts that bore the (theoretically) humourous statement

Once I thought I was wrong — but I was mistaken.

(I’ve never had one even though the available evidence suggests that they’re still around.)

I thought about them because I recently had reason to doubt a statement I made about four years ago. At that time I contemplated snow, classic movies and significant concepts in computer science and came to the conclusion that

Expensive cars can make you stupid.

My episode of self-doubt (well, one of them — I have a lot of episodes of self-doubt) happened when I was on the way to see a nice lady about a cow. (She seemed to think I was someone named Angela. Do I look like an Angela to you?)

Anyway.

On the way there I was sitting in traffic when the driver of a $56,000 car in the lane to my left suddenly woke up, realized he (I’m gender stereotyping again. Sorry.) needed wanted to turn RIGHT NOW and cut across two lanes of almost bumper-to-bumper vehicles in order to do so. (On the plus side he did signal — when he was roughly halfway through the first lane and had almost hit two people. That’s something, I guess.) (Well, no. It’s not. I’m all for setting the bar low but not that low.) Of course I immediately (well, after swearing a bit) thought about expensive cars. And T-shirts.

Expensive cars can make you stupid.

Yes it’s nasty and judgmental but in my defense I did say ‘can’ and not ‘do’. Perhaps it’s too nasty and judgmental, but on the other hand Mr. 56k suggests perhaps it’s not nasty and judgmental enough. On the other other hand, there’s the first part of the T-shirt: “Once I thought I was wrong…” Why did I think I might be wrong? Well, a couple of weeks before Mr. 56k I was walking down the street after having a very pleasant breakfast of baby sheep on toast when I happened to pass a $128,000 car parked legally (and dare I say efficiently) by the side of the street. Not only that, it had the license plate ‘WEINER’, suggesting to me that the owner had (a) a moderate (and somewhat unexpected) level of self-awareness, (b) a reasonably well-developed, somewhat self-deprecating sense of humour in addition to his apparent competence with his vehicle and (c) a not excessive sense of entitlement.

“Cool” I remember thinking “Maybe I have been too nasty and judgmental towards owners of pricey wheels.”

Which brings me to the second half of the T-shirt: “…but I was mistaken.” As mentioned, Mr 56k was a clue. But, you know, I’m not as quick as I used to be — more clues are needed. Rule of three, maybe?

Yah, let’s go with that.

After seeing the nice lady about the cow, I decided I was short of cash so I went to the most convenient machine-that-gives-you-money on the way home. While I was there someone followed me in and parked. Unlike me, though, he didn’t choose to park in a Spot — you know, inside those lines they paint on the ground to enforce conformity prevent anarchy minimize bloodshed. Instead, he surveyed the entire lot and chose a rectangle of pavement outside of every single line in the place, a spot that just happened to block (but not completely — I guess the little people were supposed to be grateful for his magnanimity) all ingress and egress to/from the bank. He (not an assumption based on stereotyping this time) then exited his vehicle and went about his business.

Estimated worth of car? Something north of $50,000. (Sorry for the lack of precision — I didn’t get the exact model number. Too many birthdays, I guess.)

But it occurred to me that that might not be due to vehicularly-impaired intelligence; it might just be entitlement, arrogance and a crippling (I would have assumed) lack of self-awareness. But my theory was about intelligence.

Well.

One of life’s autumnal rituals (at least hereabouts) is the gathering and disposal of the detritus shed by The Urban Forest. Or, to put it another way

Raking those expletive-deleted leaves.

The process/protocol/ritual for this has changed over the years — I’ve talked a bit about it but these days I periodically drive carloads of decaying organic matter to a giant mud pit and frolic in the ooze while being unnecessarily judgmental towards other people doing the same thing in more appropriate footwear.

Except for this year: during leaf-raking season the weather was slightly drier than usual so the giant mud pit was a giant dirt pit with only one (presumably mandated for its comedic potential, if nothing else) puddle in it. When I arrived on my last trip of the year there was, surprisingly, no one else there. Since I claim to be (at least intermittently) not totally unintelligent, I chose a spot not in the puddle and started to unload my leaves. (And toxic grenades. That pretty much goes without saying.) When I was about half done, a second car drove into the giant, almost-empty dirt pit. It was an expensive car (my estimate is around $74,000 but the dealer website suggests that it could be significantly more; either way it was more than a year’s pay from any job I’ve ever had in my entire life). You can guess where he parked — in the only mud puddle in the entire place. He then stood in (cold) ankle-deep muddy water to unload his cargo.

So.

Once I thought I was wrong — but I was mistaken.

And expensive cars can still make you stupid.

 

The Author

Rose Glace is the pseudonym of nobody important.

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