I know he'll never see this. (Sure, nothing is impossible, I guess. But the chances are pretty slim.) Nevertheless, I just have to say something about what happened this morning. Because I really feel bad, and I have no way of apologizing personally. So I'm hoping this will help balance out my karma a little bit.
Driving around looking for an open pump at a busy gas station, I turned a corner just as another car was pulling out. We both stopped, and made the questioning eye contact of two drivers who are waiting to see who is going to go first. Since I'm the type that will usually let the other person go first (because too many people are unwilling to do that) I waved the guy on.
But rather than the customary "thank-you" wave, the guy gave me an unexpected look - kind of an offended, "what-was-that-for?!" kind of look - and drove off. I thought it was weird, but then it sank in. I'm pretty sure he mistook my quick waving gesture for a different, much less polite gesture that drivers sometimes give to each other.
There would have been no reason for me to flip the guy off. But sadly, I've seen many a driver who would do that (or something equally or even more rude) for no logical reason, so it's not hard to understand why someone could see a quick hand gesture from another driver and mistake its true intention for something less polite.
So to you, man in the gas station parking lot this morning, I want to apologize. I really was just trying to be nice and let you go first. I could tell by you face that you were offended by what you thought I had done, but I truly hope that you were able to quickly blow it off and not let it continue to bother you.
And to the rest of you reading this... you know me well enough by now to know that I just couldn't let it go without embracing the chance to get a little philosophical about the whole thing. :)
I started to think about all of the times when I have been upset (or offended, or irritated, or whatever) by another person's actions. And of course I had to wonder how many of those times I had misinterpreted those actions and unfairly judged the other person. I'm sure it doesn't happen all the time, but I'm equally sure now that it probably does happen sometimes.
Of course there are plenty of reasons to not get bothered by the little things that other people do. But now I have another reason to add to the list, and maybe it will help make it a little easier to remember not to judge. I don't really know what is going on in someone else's head, and I can't necessarily judge a situation based on my interpretation of what someone else does.
I will try to remember that from now on, because I have a feeling it might make dealing with people a little easier. Oh, and I also promise that from now on when I wave to another driver, I will make sure that it is clearly a wave.