Chris Markiewicz's Blog
Every Monday – thoughts, observations and ideas that hold up a mirror to who & how we are

The trap

I have a pal who runs a small business. Things haven’t been too great for him lately business-wise and, like many others he’s feeling the pinch.

The last couple of times I called him on his mobile, his voicemail was switched off and I got a recording of an anonymous woman’s voice declaring that I couldn’t leave a message and “why not send a text instead?”

Irritated by this, my first reaction was to think, how foolish that he should switch off his voicemail – surely, he’s going to lose potential business.

Then it clicked. I suddenly remembered that he is almost deaf. Listening to voicemails must be a struggle for him. At least texts can be easily read and, on a “live” call he can ask people to speak up.

However, this initial reaction provided a lesson for me about jumping to judgment of others’ actions. For my part, I can so easily become impatient with people who don’t make allowances for the fact that I’m visually impaired. Not having the same issues, they’ll easily fall into the same trap that I did with my mate. I don’t experience the world as someone who is almost deaf and others don’t experience the world as I do – with limited vision.

So, when I next get frustrated, irritated or disheartened by others’ apparent lack of care or understanding, I’ll try to remember my own oversight and avoid seeing the transgressor as being “rude, inconsiderate, ignorant” or any of the other names that could so easily be chucked at them. When my eyesight used to be better, I never gave this kind of thing a second thought.

This also goes beyond disabilities. I can’t be reminded enough that every individual is just that – individual. Some are more or less sensitive than others, some more or less determined, some more or less pedantic, and so the list goes on……

No one, but no one knows how other people feel and how their life experience really is for them – we can none of us climb fully into another person’s skin. However, stepping back and thinking, considering how it might feel can make a difference.

I’m sure I’ve written on similar themes in my blog before, BUT I still fall into this same trap of judging and not understanding others’ needs and motives. I guess I’m not alone though in the need to read (and re-read) this piece and pull myself up on it.

As for my mate, the next step will be to have a chat (preferably over a pint) and explore alternatives to the dismissive, pre-recorded message on his work mobile. I guess I’ll send him a text to set it up…..




One Response to “The trap”

  1. Chris you are so right. When I’m driving and someone does something annoying like going too slow, I remember when I was driving sick rodents (pets) to the vet to be put down, (not all at the same time!) or going very slow over humps when my mum is in the car. When Steve is driving and I am a passenger, and someone does something wrong he says something like “stupid woman!” I say to him he might as well be saying it to me because I’m not always a perfect driver, even if he thinks he is! (which he isn’t!)

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