Perception

Have you ever considered that where you stand affects what you see?

If you stand in a room, well back from the window, your view is restricted by the walls around it.  Move forward, until your nose is touching the window, and your view is greatly enhanced.   (Of course, you can no longer see the room you stand in, but that’s a different matter.)

It’s the same with people and events.  The closer you are, the more you can see – and the more blinkered you are to anything outside your view.

More importantly, where you are in relation to an issue or person will alter what you see.

Want an example?  Country A is invaded by country B.  Country C supplies country B with weapons and training to aid them in their fight for independence.  This is an old story.  Country B uses the weapons to attack the infrastructure and ‘soft’ targets: railways; airfields; support services…  The ones doing the attacking are labelled ‘terrorists.’

Think you know who the three countries are?  Well, Country A is Germany, Country B is France, and Country C is Britain.  The period is World War 2.  The French resistance were not ‘terrorists’, they were freedom fighters! 

Now please explain to me the difference between that, and the scenario where Country A is Britain, Country B is Ireland, and Country C is America.  American Irish raised money to support the ‘fight’ in Ireland.  And the IRA were terrorists, not freedom fighters.

I can – in honesty – only see one real difference between the two.  I’m British, so in both cases I’m on the side of Britain.  And that is why one is ‘right’ and one is ‘wrong.’

All because of where I’m standing.

When I sat down to write this, it wasn’t supposed to be anything to do with Politics – it just got away from me.  It was supposed to be more personal than that…  Let’s try again.

I may have told this story before.   Fifteen or so years ago, I was driving taxis for a living.  One night, a youth ran out of his house, across the narrow pavement, and onto the hood of my taxi that was coming up the road.  When I stopped, the car was still in front of the door he came out of – that should tell you how fast I was travelling. (Or how slow.)

Within minutes, I was surrounded by his pals from the pub he was heading for – directly opposite his house, and the reason he didn’t bother to look.  Their viewpoint was that all taxi drivers drove too fast, and that it was entirely my fault that I’d hit him.   Facts, and evidence, meant nothing to them – that was just me trying to worm my way out of it.

I’m convinced that I would have been assaulted if the guy I hit had been unconcious – but he was awake, and he was okay.  And he told them it was his fault. 

He had to work at it, though.  They really didn’t want to give up on the idea that I’d been going too fast.

Recently, I realised something about myself.  My family sees me a miser.  I have no idea why.

I’m planning a party, for my Silver Wedding.  Talking about it to one family member, I was amazed to be told that ‘everybody will come, if only to see me put my hand in my pocket.’

Another family member made a joke about all of us paying a share of something, then misread my expression – believing it to be fright at the idea of paying for something.  It was shock, actually, at the idea that he might pay a share of something!

I really don’t know where this idea comes from.  My partner complains that I am too generous.  If you were to create a balance sheet, showing what I gave and what I recieved, it would show that I was owed a great deal.

But I’m not worried about it.  I don’t want it.  I give, happily.  It’s just upsetting, really.  Talking about it with my partner, we worked out that virtually every member of my family has had help from me that they would never return in kind. 

A relative who would never, ever let me touch his car has borrowed my car.  A relative who would always charge for professional services has never paid me for professional services.  A relative who would never go out of their way for anybody has had me travel great distances to help them.

Maybe my reputation comes from the fact that we don’t bother with Xmas or birthdays.  I’m tight-fisted because I told them not to spend money on me.  (Because I told the relative whose present to me was books that they needed for their studies – books I never saw again – not to buy me presents.)

Whatever. 

I know that I would give my last penny to help another.  I don’t have much, so I can’t give much, but I pay my way.  A recent family event proves that: I was the only one to pay my share.

How’s that for perception?



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