Living Below Your Means
Assumption Misfire

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By TamarianG
November 19, 2004

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You know how irked we get when people make assumptions about us; based on, say, a single post or the color of our hair or what kind of vehicle we drive? Last week, I made an assumption about somebody. I assumed he was a totally self-absorbed twit with a dash of juvenile lookitme, based on two things: his vehicle, and a single example of his driving.

See, we were both heading for the same destination: the drive-thru Starbucks. We roared up the parkway together, neck and neck. After we turned into the parking lot, he stayed with his nose jammed up against my rear bumper for a scant second, then, realizing we were heading to the same place (and that, given the size of the vehicle, I might have the entire Kings basketball team inside getting ready to order), he made a hard right to get into the lane parallel to me in the parking lot, used his accelerator to good effect and managed to get in front of me in the drive-thru. While not 'call the cops' dangerous as maneuvers go, it was...irritating. The kind of thing that makes your feathers ruffle up, you know?

Well, I thought to myself as I forced my hands to unclench on the steering wheel, You know these Lexus RX drivers. They're all alike. Think they own everything. Especially the ones who get that gold paint. Oooooh, lookit me, I've got a gold SUV...what a self-absorbed twit...

I noticed that his right rear brake light was out. You notice these things when you get into a drive-thru and then proceed to not drive-thru. I sat there and watched that right rear brake light not come on with absent-minded fascination, fingering my Starbucks card fondly and remembering that I should really call my brother (who gave me the card) once in a while.

When I finally (finally!) got to the speaker, I ordered my drink with my thoughts far, far away from Starbucks, coffee, or anything else really. Just making up lists of things I should be doing (but wasn't) and things I meant to do (but wouldn't) and stuff I really didn't feel like doing (but must).

"Anything else with that? Pastry? Cookie?"

"Nope. Well, yeah. Yeah. You can tell the guy in front of me that his right rear brake light is out." Mother to the world, that's me. Put your jacket on, don't run with scissors, and let's get that brake light fixed, shall we? It wasn't put there just for pretty, ya know, it's a safety thing...even if you are a self-absorbed twit, I don't want to see you smeared on the highway because some idiot in an even bigger vehicle didn't realize you were braking.


"The guy in front of me? The gold Lexus? His right rear brake light is out. You might mention it to him when he gets up there."

"Ummmmmm, his...oh, I get it. Hahaha. OK, thank you."

Still pondering the imponderables of life (hmm, I wonder, if I accidentally got a decaf coffee, would I still feel 'perkier' due to the physio-psychological effect of drinking a warm, coffee-flavored beverage?), we rumbled forward. Mr. Lexus spoke briefly with the cashier, handed over his card, grabbed his drink and card, and roared off into the sunrise. Huh. Excessive acceleration. Yup, definitely a self-absorbed twit, with perhaps a twist of juvenile lookitme for good measure. I pulled up to the window, reached out to hand over my cherished card...

"He says thanks and it's on him this morning."

I sat there like a moron with my card held out. He � what? B-b-b-but...see, he's an SUV-driving, self-absorbed twit with a dash of juvenile lookitme? So he couldn't possibly, you know, express gratitude or do something randomly nice for someone.

"Oh...OK. Well. Didn't expect that," I said slowly, putting my card back and taking the cup. I felt almost guilty. But it got worse...

"Oh, he's a really nice guy. He comes through every Friday, usually about an hour earlier, he's really late today � you guys would probably really get along! Always laughing, tells great jokes, always telling stories about his grandkids. He's got, like, six of them or something, says they're God's reward for not killing his own kids, hahahahaha. Anyway, have a great one, drive safe!!"

Well. Alrighty then. Great. Even though I know he didn't know I had been burning him in effigy in my head, I still felt like a jerk. I called somebody's doting grandpa a self-absorbed twit. With dash of juvenile lookitme. Oh, ack.

Memo to me: appearances can be deceiving, single events do not a pattern make and everybody deserves the benefit of the doubt at least once.

Even if they are driving a gold-tone SUV.


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