When You Are Sure About Something, Think Again
By Judi Morress
Someone a few blocks from my house has a car very much like mine – same make, model, year and even color. I've noticed it several times over the years. I don't know if the owner has been in the grocery store at the same time as me, before yesterday, but yesterday was the first time I tried to get into his/her car.
Given that no matter how I try, I have a hard time remembering where I parked my car,
and this was the second time I was at the grocery that day (but that's another whole story, and I don't want to digress too much or I'll completely lose my train of thought) it was just a matter of time till I put myself at risk of arrest for Attempted Auto Theft.
Remember where I parked my car? Really? I can't even remember to take my cloth grocery bags into Kroger's with me, even though I keep them on the front passenger seat, right next to me.
Maybe if I put the straps around the gearshift, or the emergency brake – no, that might interfere with driving. Or, I know – I should put them on my lap when I get in the car! I already know that none of these ploys will work. I'd need to think to do this ahead of time, but I can't even think of it when it's right in front of me.
Where was I? Oh, yes, trying to open the trunk of somebody else's car, idly wondering why I hadn't rolled the windows down just a bit (it was a really hot day). I glanced down and saw the license plate... even then it didn't dawn on me. For a split second I thought, “Oh, no! Someone has switched my license plate!” Finally, it hit me. I glanced furtively around, fearing that the owner was bearing down on me - I pictured a big burly man with multiple tattoos, or a crabby old lady wielding an umbrella screaming “Stop, thief,” and dialing 911.
I tried to be cool, and casually stroll along, realizing that where I had parked my car was no longer retrievable from my rattled brain, and that I would be walking up and down the parking lot in the heat until I chanced upon it, which I finally did.
This tendency to be so sure that we are right (or maybe it's just that we're easily fooled) must be universal, because I know I'm not the only one. Just a couple of examples...
Some years ago, my sister Pam was at her mother-in-law's funeral. Her brother-in-law Jerry had a car almost identical to hers. (Pam swears that during the visitation someone moved cars, but that's her illusion; I'm not going to argue with her). At any rate, there she was, trying to put her key in the door-lock, when she glanced in the window.
Did she think, “Oh, this must be Jerry's car? “ Oh, no, she thought, “When did I get leather seats?”
My friend Betty's daughter Heidi is a Psychologist. When she was doing graduate work, Heidi had to learn how to administer IQ tests, and how to score them, so she practiced on Betty. When she finished, she sat down with Betty and solemnly said, “Mom, I'm so sorry, but you're slightly retarded.”
Betty just looked at her and said, “Maybe you should re-check your results.” Heidi did, of course, and was relieved that her mother was indeed above average. Betty still shakes her head over the thought that Heidi was more ready to believe that her mother was “slightly retarded” than that she herself could have made an error.
I told Betty, “Oh, that's just how kids are – they're so sure they're right about
everything.” I don't know, I don't think we ever get over being sure we're right, until we're wrong.
© Judi Morres. Used by kind permission.