Saturday, September 20, 2014

Justine's Journal #5

500 Words 52 Weeks

This is how it began: Justine (not her real name) decided to write 500 words (or as near as), anything goes, per week for 52 weeks. She would then submit it for anonymous posting, via me, her friend. Perhaps a pattern will emerge from her words, but at this stage it’s more an experiment I have agreed to share in. I’ll attempt to draw conclusions at the end of this. Stay tuned if this resonates with you.

Week 5

'I saw today an older man in a fancy silver sports car stop at the lights. He stopped beside me and I sort of glanced over. My first instinct was an internal snort of derision, and then I noticed a young woman crouched into the passenger seat beside him. Derision became horror, mostly because I automatically assumed she was his squeeze/wife/whatever and she was clearly unhappy to be there. A moment later I told myself “but she chose to be with an old man, did she not?” That initial snort of derision erupted then. It was only once the fancy thing had left me in the dust after the lights changed that I realised what the real situation potentially was.

She was his daughter, had probably asked her father for a ride somewhere, but, like to all teenagers, was embarrassed firstly to ride with her father, and secondly to be in a fancy car that screamed out “I’m in my midlife crisis”.

The more I thought about it, the more likely this latter scenario was, and the more I thought about my initial judgement, the more I realised just how quick we are to jump to conclusions. This is one of humanity’s biggest failings, in my opinion, and I’m no different … clearly. Dear older man in your fancy car, I’m sorry. And, girl, he’s your dad and you should appreciate the time he has taken to see to your needs. Ignore the car, girl. (Sorry, yes, I’m still judging, but it’s a silly car)

There are times, of course, when snap judgements are better than looking away. When you see someone being hurt, whatever the situation is, it’s best to judge that the person needs support. The man or woman, for instance, lifting a hand to hit a child or animal? Shout out HEY from wherever you are (at the very least), and if it turns out to be something other than potential abuse (such as mom was waving a wasp away from her child), fine, you’re wrong, you made a snap judgement, but rather be wrong than simply look the other way.

I think I’ll leave it there, because this is an open-to-interpretation subject. I have been both wrong and right in my snap judgements; it’s up to each of us, isn't it?'

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