Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"You Assume Too Much . . "

Assumptions are sooo dangerous
Its taken me a long time to realise just how dangerous - and I still often forget
I forget that I see things through my own personal lens
From my own perspective
And under the weight of my own baggage
Whether I want to or not . . .

An example -
My man and I pulled into a petrol station (gas station, for those of you who speak American :-)
and, as is normal in our country, the petrol attendant came to the car window to find out what we needed.
We told him and he proceeded to fill our tank

I suddenly became aware of two females glowering at us as we sat in our car.
They were standing next to another car parked parallel to us in the same garage.
They were MAD!
And we were the ones making them so mad
Without having a clue why

They began to speak loudly to each other but their words were actually directed at us -
It went along these lines: 'these lazy arrogant @%$&@#  white South Africans are too bone idle to get out of their cars and fill their own petrol tanks
And the poor downtrodden black South Africans have to wait on them (us!) hand and foot.
What a useless lot they (we) are . . .'

I was hurt and outraged.
And so tempted to go over and put them straight . .
In retrospect, it might have been a good idea if I hadn't been so angry -

The thing is (which they didn't know or hadn't thought about) that of course we could put in our own petrol, but that would rob thousands of people of their jobs and their only means of income
Jobs are very hard to come by in this country - unemployment is rife

Their particular mindsets led to false assumptions
My guess is that those two women took those assumptions back to England with them
And that they live with, and spread, this jaundiced view of us to this day.

Which is, of course, also an assumption - mine -


Vanessa said...

I get what you're saying completely. I used to have the exact same view point as you. *But* as someone who now puts in her own petrol, cleans her own house, and discovering that I'm quite good at both (except the tyre pressure thing, I suck at that), I actually feel empowered. I remember feeling *useless* at both those things...why? Because I'd been led to believe (by a warped societal mindset) that those were "not things that people like me do" when in reality, it's what the REST OF THE WORLD does. In *not* doing those things for ourselves, the joke is entirely on us. Yes I understand the employment issue, of course I do, and I'm not criticising your viewpoint at all, I just think that perhaps there is an alternative waiting to be discovered? Perhaps in doing more for ourselves and not relying on other people, those people will rise above their current position (low salaried jobs like domestics and petrol attendants) and strive for something better ? If I could flick a magic switch and make it happen, I would, but sadly, I know that the current climate (POLITICAL POWER) will never provide those people with the education they need so that SA can have more teachers, more artisans, more entrepreneurs and more people uplifting themselves without being stuck as a result of a mindset that has been thrust upon them by this time that they have been born into, and being held captive by their current political situation. Of course those two women were ill-informed, but I can't help thinking that both you and them have a valid point. Even if there's was a skewed by not thinking past the ends of their noses.

Lynette said...

Ah sure is hell in Africa;-) In our attempt at Job Creation we are actually very spoiled and we do live well. I quite honestly couldn't be bothered what people from other countries believe. It is always a choice to believe what you want and have your own assumptions.

lg said...

Ah mom - Totally understand your frustration and admire that you didn't get out and set them straight! They don't deserve South African hospitality and warmth. Sadly for them, all they did was reinforce my opinion that the Brits can be a self-righteous bunch... and I don't mean all of them!!! (But the two of them, probably.)

Misty'sMum said...

This made me smile a bit. When we moved from SA back to the UK, the first time we had to go and put petrol in the car, I sat in the car and waited for the pomp-joggie to come and fill me up. I sat for a loooooong time before I remembered I had to fill up my OWN tank! I felt very, very foolish and I'm sure the car behind me thought perhaps they should call for the men in white coats... :)

allie. said...

@ Misty's Mom - I can just see it! Its a cert that I would do the same if I ever find myself in the same situation!