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And who are you?

Minor and strange encounters with the humans often fascinate me. I’m amused or even bewildered by their thinking and responses. Today another minor encounter, put me to think.

bad_parkingI’m walking along on a pavement, on the side of a street (just to be clear), in my home town. A man has just got  out of his car after parking in an indented parking space. I notice that the two wheels of his car, on the left side, are about 3 inches outside of the parking area and jutting into the road. In other words he’s parked badly and probably is putting his car at risk or other drivers at some risk. 

The man looks like he’s in his late-70s or early 80s. Look, it’s none of my business how old he is. But his apparent age was probably related to his bad parking on this occasion. Why? Chryssst!! Do I really need to go into a dissertation on the prevalence of dementia in the over sixty-fives, and that dementia even of subclinical varieties can affect spatial awareness and motor aptitude (no – I’m sure I didn’t say motor vehicle aptitude). [Yes – you’re getting brighter (whoever you are); that’s not the car in question that I’m referring to – obviously (Chyrssst!!), cuz the one in the photo is clearly well over 3 inches out. The photo at left is only indicative.]

Did I diagnosed a man with dementia in such a short encounter? Persons of the idiot variety will say “You did!”. I will say I considered the explanatory probability based on what I was observing. I made no diagnosis of anybody. Anyways, as I get closer to the chap – I says to him, quite politely I assure you, “Your car is parked a bit out”. He looks at me, puzzled. Maybe I should be speaking Gujrati or sumik; I don’t know why he’s looking puzzled.

So I gesture to him and show him what I’m talking about. He spots exactly what I’m talking about. Then he goes, “And who are you!?” – in manner and body language to suggest ‘What right have you got telling me about my parking’. No – you weren’t there!! I saw the look on his face and his manner – and I’m therefore the authority on my own interpretation (even if there are ten zillion other possible interpretations). And I goes, “I’m some person walking along the side of the street…” – and I push off. As I do so – about 20 yards later – I glance over my shoulder and notice that he’s now in his car trying to park properly.

But the above brief ten seconds made me wonder:

  1. Does it matter who I am – my status or wha’everrrr? I don’t think so.
  2. Is the matter that the owner of the car could be putting his car at some risk  or other motorists (who may have to swerve to avoid collision, and cause an accident for example)? I would have thought so.

However, this is Eng-uh-land!! And over here you dare not ‘speak out of turn’ unless you’re ‘somebody’ i.e. someone of status and importance etc.  And my observation is that the diehard-English don’t like their culture to be criticised – as much as people in other cultures don’t like their cultures to be criticised. In other words everybody is happy to dish it out on another, but they can’t take it when their turn comes around!

Those objecting to my comments are likely to say:

  1. Oh he could have been making an honest inquiry of ‘who you are’.
  2. You don’t have to read into situations stuff that isn’t there!
  3. Maybe he thought you were a plain-clothes police officer.

But they’re not likely to say, “Hmmm… I think your observations were quite accurate as you report them”.

And the reason why objections or agreement with my observations would be irrelevant, is that you weren’t there!!! And why is that important, because you who reads this had no access to the same evidence that I had! You have reported evidence, not actual evidence. That’s it – I’m off to Dyson my car! [Yes – I no longer ‘hoover’ my car.. oooo…oooh.. in Britain you’re not allowed to change words like that! Send the ‘authorities to arrest me! Do it!]

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