07 August, 2012

A Different Reality?

Our local post office has a drive through allowing customers to drop mail into one of three boxes without every entering the main parking lot or leaving their cars. It is quite convenient for all involved and maintains a consistent traffic flow while minimizing lines inside the building, something we all can appreciate.
Saturday morning I grabbed a stack of mail, not just letter size, and made my way to one of the exterior boxes in this drive through.
Stepping up to the box, I slipped the first two items to be mailed through the slot.
Given that I am on foot, I continually look to my left to see if there are cars entering the drive through. After the first two boxes slipped through the slot, a car began to pull into the driveway. I immediately stepped to the side of the box next to a large bush.
the woman in the car pulled forward, slipped her letter into the slot (all of this I observed) and then looked directly at me. "You should not cross through the bushes like that as it is not easy to see you. You might get hit."
I was slightly, if not totally taken aback and quite confused. I was not crossing the road; she wasn't there when I walked across the grass, not through the bushes, from the sidewalk to the boxes; and, I wasn't going to be crossing the road to the main post office.
I started to tell her that I hadn't meant to... and stopped. I hadn't meant to what? I was mailing my mail when I saw her pull in and I stepped to the side. And if someone is pulling into a very small parking area at a high speed such that they can't see someone crossing - they are just going way to fast as this area is not one you can easily enter quickly or on auto pilot.
I stopped speaking, told her I understood her point, and watched her exit the area.
I then stepped back to the front of the box, finished mailing my items, crossed the grass to the sidewalk, and pondered what she likely meant in this conversation as I walked to the stop light to legally cross the road.
My guess is that she didn't see me mailing items when she started pulling into the drive through; she only saw me suddenly appear beside the box when she looked up or when she finished mailing her items. She saw a woman appear and assumed that I was crossing the street. So she responded by saying something. Perhaps she didn't think that I would have come in from either sidewalk end of the drive through or that I am the type of person who is more concerned about being hit by a car than most so I do look ways and I stop to wait for cars. her reality was likely that I was there and she thought I was crossing at that point.
Maybe this reality was not hers either - but the thought process left me with a strong realization - just because I see reality one way does't mean that it is the same reality that others perceive or enjoy.
Never has this point seemed so clear or so evident.
I have experienced the reality that people create out of denial or through dishonesty and fabrication. The lives that exist in their minds and which are only as strong as the threads of which they are constructed.
But until this event, this morning, I had not fully grasp that a simple incident can appear so differently to all people involved and each is truth in accordance with their experience. There is no denial or fabrication or deflection. Each reality is based upon the events as they unfold and are observed.

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