As I sat at an outdoor café this morning, a man crossed the street talking about hockey in a loud voice. His hoddie fully deployed, he seemed dressed in two overcoats on a sunny day. No one was walking next to him; the nearest were two young women giggling and gesturing. “A nutter,” I thought instantly, “talking to himself in broad daylight.”
Look how quickly judgement arose after seeing this tableau for mere seconds. At the same time I wondered whether that man might talking into a hands-free ear piece and be, instead of mentally weird, be cutting-edge hip. Or both. Or none of the above. Point is that in an instant I saw one image (man walking while talking) through distinctly different lenses. How many times does that happen during an average day?
Today’s lesson: to watch out for occasions where I jump to conclusions based on momentary impressions. And, what’s potentially more dangerous, when I act on such flawed perceptions.