We are extremely judgmental people. We can’t help it. We all do it, it’s human nature. That doesn’t make it okay, let’s just be clear on that. But if you see a woman yelling at her waiter, you make a judgement about her. If you meet a man who stays home all day and watches soap operas, you may judge him because of that. And if you are one of those people who claims to never make snap judgements, I’m judging you. As a liar.
When I got to work today a coworker said, “You really look good driving that new car.” I tried to ignore the fact that it’s never really appropriate for a male to tell his female coworker she looks good doing something. But this company has never been one to abide by corporate America norms, so why start now. It did make me think though. People make extreme judgments based on cars. Old men with sports cars must be going through a mid-life crisis. Women in vans must have a few children, and certainly one of them plays soccer. Anyone owning a Hummer must be a jerk who doesn’t care about the environment. Men on motorcycles are selfish, unsafe, and have a death-wish. I can remember when my brother turned 16 and got a Ford Ranger. My friend Kendall said, “Oh my gosh! That screams ‘Howdy Doody, I’m a hick!'” So we see that all truck owners must be hicks and probably have guns and cattle, or at least wish that they did. (Please note that these opinions are not necessarily the views of the writer, her immediate family, employer, etc. Please hold all hate mail. I love Hummers.)
But then at the same time, there is always a reason for a stereotype. Yes? Most women with vans do have a few children. Maybe they play tee-ball, but some may argue that that is a minor detail. ( I am not one of those, soccer and tee-ball are worlds apart.) Next time you have a motorcyclist drive past you between lanes or on the shoulder, hear yourself say “Wow, he must have a death-wish.”
I am extremely thankful that I never judged Stephen based on his car. His tiny Nissan Sentra with an electrical cord hanging out of the hood was definitely not what drew me to him. I can remember the first time I saw it. I did make one snap judgement: This man is appreciative. Here he was driving a car that may or may not start, with an AC that only worked on high, and he was extremely thankful for what he had. I’d hear him explain it to people. He laughed about the cord, how he bought it for $1 from his uncle. He liked that “silver” car. (I say “silver” because that’s not the color I see it is. I call it “metal”.) Anyways, I guess I did judge him. But the judgement I made that day was true. He is appreciative and takes great pride in the things he owns.
There is a car out right now with a massive stereotype. The Smart Car. If you drive a Smart Car, you must be environmentally friendly. You must be concerned about finances and the state of the oil industry. You must be green. But, to the man in the yellow Smart Car in front of my this morning, I apologize for judging you as a rational man. Your driving behaviors taught me something. You swerved between drivers, running the risk of someone crushing you and your car like a potato chip. You honked at a man not willing to run the red light. You sped up only to tailgate the car in front of you. You, my friend, have showed me one thing. You are not concerned with bettering the state of the world. The bottomline: Smart Car drivers do not have to be… smart.
Oh the irony.