Last week, on a sunny and uncharacteristically warm day in the booming metropolis of Camrose, Alberta (hah! Population of 18K…) I was walking through the Superstore parking lot, when a woman about my age suddenly started her car and began backing out of the stall, and damned near ran me over.
She hadn’t looked – the time between turning the ignition and starting to move could only have been three seconds, and that’s being generous.
I caught a glimpse of her shocked and angry face, as she finally saw me, and then…it happened.
She gunned her car and peeled out of there like every demon of hell was in pursuit.
I wasn’t surprised.
People do this at Superstore all the time: they back out of parking spots as if they were the only mobile beings on the entire planet.
And they frequently do as this woman did, when they encounter, mid-back-out, a live human also occupying the world.
They scream away in a fury, as if to put as much possible distance between themselves and their driving faux pas as they can. To get away from their own actions. To pretend, if they can, by this distance, that they did not do this, that it never happened at all.
And there, I think, lies the problem of the modern western world. We have gotten very good at shedding the past. We’re experts at negation, at burial, at denial.
And the people that are the very best at this are people my age.
We raged at the “system” and hated “the man” when we were young – but not one in twenty of us will admit that we’ve betrayed that better vision of the world.
We’ve just collectively pretended it never happened. That we never rebelled. Never put a foot wrong. Never were the ones who wanted to change things.
That woman in the parking lot?
She’s a metaphor for an entire generation.
Wow. What a powerful point, and very timely, if I may add. (I once had a boss where I had to report him for just that sort of sweep it under the rug mentality. Everyone kinda thought I was exaggerating what I was mad about …..)
Annoying, isn’t it?