Life Lesson Number 24: It’s not Smart to Make Presumptions
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is making presumptions about people that turn out to be false. These arrogant opinions formed from a position of power can leave you wiping mud off your face. It is always wise to look beyond a person’s outward appearance to arrive at an accurate conclusion. We human beings tend to stereotype in certain situations. No matter how much we deny it, our decisions are often effected when we people in categories to make sense of our complicated world. It’s not smart to make presumptions.
Categorizing becomes a problem when what we believe is skewed by cultural perceptions. You see a guy riding a motorcycle dressed in leather, and you assume he is a criminal. A person’s zip code places them living on the bad side of town, so you pass on hiring the person for the position. Rooster and I had a recent experience that highlighted the fact that It’s not smart to make presumptions.
Rooster and I drove home from dinner with my daughter and her husband. We had a relaxing meal at a local restaurant where our granddaughter works. A white truck parked next to an elderly neighbor’s fence looked suspicious. When I say elderly, I mean that Ray is in his eighties. The guy has lived in the house behind us for thirty years. He’s been a part of the neighborhood all his life. He lives in the house his parents owned when he was a kid. Ray had lots of motorcycle parts. He might not know they were missing because he hasn’t come out of his house much since COVID.
Rooster decided to swing around the block again to see if whoever operated the suspicious truck was up to no good. We glanced down the alley and decided Ray’s fence was in one piece. Rooster pulled the car to the curb in front of the Big Pink, and red lights flashed behind us.
“I’m getting pulled over,” Rooster said.
“How is that possible when you’re parked?” I asked.
“I don’t know, but a big cop is walking in our direction.” Rooster reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. He figured he should be prepared for anything.
“Do you think we should run for it?” I asked.
“Where are we going to go? We’re parked in front of our house. I am positive they can find us.” Rooster waited until the cop moved to the driver’s side window before he said, “Did I do something wrong, officer?”
“You didn’t use your turn signal when you rounded the corner. You look suspicious driving around the block like that.” The cop held his hand on his gun while he made the statement.
It’s not Smart to Make Presumptions.
“Sorry about that. We saw a white truck parked next to our neighbor’s fence and checked it out. I live in the pink house right there.” Rooster pointed at our door, ten feet from where we sat. “My wife used to work with one of your guys. What was that kid’s name who was one of the cadets at the college.”
Rooster was reaching here. He wasn’t above using my experience working in a campus police office as a secretary to avoid being hassled any longer. The fact that, at one time, I had a handful of kids who ended up with jobs in various police agencies throughout the state might come in handy. I thought the officer was reaching when he pulled us over anyway. We looked more old than suspicious. I gave the officer the kid’s name, and he looked over Rooster’s driver’s license before he told us we could go. We climbed out of the car, and the cop watched us walk into our house. The cop drove off, having made a wrong presumption.
I realize the suspicion level of the cops working in our neighborhood is high. We heard that a shooting happened down the street while we were gone on vacation. It is a wrong presumption to assume because someone drove around the block, they are up to no good. Come on, people. We are old, not suspicious.
Who is Molly Shea?
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures, click here.
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