“Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” ~ George Carlin
I was taking my wife out to lunch and we passed a car on the highway that was a disaster. Not only had it apparently never been washed, there was a shirt flying partly stuck out of the back window. For such a relatively new SUV, it appear to be in poor repair with a low tire, busted side mirror, and very cracked windshield.
The windshield and rear windows were so smeared, even though you could still see the squeegee marks from a half-hearted attempt to clean the windows. I was surprised the driver could even see to drive. The fellow driving the vehicle had a long, unkempt beard, was chewing tobacco, wore a spit stained t-shirt, and looked like he never washed his face as there was dark smears.
Part of me was like, some people are their own worst enemies. I also thought this is someone’s kid, someone’s dad, someone’s everything. But if this vehicle got in an accident (and again by the looks of the side view mirror), what’s to keep the average person from thinking it may have been deserved.
Then my mind wandered to the question, “Can you tell a lot about a person by the condition of the vehicle they drive?” Right, there are no absolutes in this world, and very few things that are always true, but still …
When you have an accident, and there is no ‘if”, it’s when, will the condition of your vehicle contribute to the escalation of events? Will you suffer more injury because of broken aspects of your vehicle? Will the windshield shatter because of that crack? Does your seatbelt work or do you even wear one? So many things come into play during that split second when the shit hits the fan.
Now before you wonder if I’m a neatnik, my car gets washed 2 or 3 times a year, but it does sit in a garage 98% of the time. I have a goatee that sometimes needs a trim. But my vehicle has no cracked windows, when that happens I get it repaired quickly. And I don’t have things dragging from my vehicle as I drive it down the road. My tires are serviceable and well maintained.
Having spent 20 years in the military, I appreciate the value of a well-maintained vehicle. I know that being clean cut can have benefits. I do suspect that judging people too quickly based on their appearance could result in disrespecting a really fine person. But are those good people, people who look like crap, drive unsafe vehicles, and who don’t appear to give a damn about anyone, spewing cigarette buts and beer cans indiscriminately … are they really good people? How would you like to have them as a neighbor?
I don’t have the answers to these questions, but I do feel that many times, people can be their own worst enemy, even in the best of cases.