18 November 2010

A Test

Do you know the easiest way to tell if your 'friends' and relatives think you're stupid or not?
If not, I shall now enlighten you. It's very easy, only three steps.

Step one: Get in a motor accident in which you very easily could have been rather violently killed BUT be perfectly okay except for some breathing problems thanks to the air bag. (For best results, make sure the vehicle you were driving is crushed beyond recognition. Also be sure to take pictures, although a very graphic verbal description will do in a pinch.)

Step two: Get a new vehicle, get back on the road and improve your driving skills over the next few months or so.

Step three: Nearly six months later, go on an hour-long (one way) drive in broad daylight after a snowfall (note that the snow must not still be falling. This is very important. If the snow is still falling it will affect the results of the test).

On the morning of the aforementioned two-hour drive after a snowfall, people will come out of the proverbial woodwork, people who haven't spoken to you in several years, telephoning and asking if you're still going on that trip and if so is anyone coming with you.
The amount of panic they display when you tell them that yes, you are still going on this trip, and yes, you're the driver will tell you exactly how stupid they think you are.

Interpreting the results:
If they say, 'Oh okay. Well, drive safe. Anyway, the real reason I called is...' and continue on to give another perfectly legitimate reason to be calling you, then they most likely do not think you are stupid at all and are merely displaying a normal healthy amount of concern for your safety. These individuals obviously trust you enough not to panic but love you enough to care about your well-being. (Either that or they are very good actors, especially when downplaying the actual real reason they telephoned.)

If they say, 'WHAT?!? Are you insane?' they most likely think you are completely daft for even considering the notion, but do tread carefully when met with this response, as they may think you're crazy for different reasons. This response is particularly tricky to figure out despite its simplicity on the surface.
They may be genuinely concerned for you. Perhaps they have already driven some of the roads that day and know that they're worse than they appear. If this is the case you can safely feel that they actually love you and think you're a wonderful, mostly intelligent person and want you to not run into any hardship because they can't bear the thought of you being involved in another horrible accident.
However, they may also think you are too stupid to realise that you need to use caution and they figure that it's safer for everyone (including themselves, if they happen to be going anywhere) if you stay off the road.

If they say, 'Oh' or 'Oh really?' in a rather high-pitched surprised sounding voice, followed by a rather long awkward pause, you are dealing with someone who thinks you're a complete and total certified idiot and you should terminate the phone call as soon as possible. (Saying, 'yes, see you at my funeral' and then hanging up may be the most effective manner of doing this, but please note that this particular method has not yet been tested and therefore if you attempt this please know that you are doing so at your own risk.)

What you do with the results of this test is not certain. Studies have shown that generally the results of these sorts of experiments get published, but you may not want to publish lists of 'friends' and relatives who think you're stupid in any public place. Doing so may result in being disowned or sued. I suppose you could write the lists down and stash them in the drawer of your bedside table for reference when you move out in five years though.

Please note: Results may vary depending on your particular friends and relatives and how well you know them. Sarcasm or 'gentle teasing' on their part may be a factor in their response. This test is not scientifically proven to be 100% accurate. I assume no responsibility for any strained or destroyed relationships that may result from the use of this test.
If you are a subject of a test similar to this that a friend or relative is conducting, please know that while they may be quite aggravated if you freak out every time they have to go somewhere, they do appreciate concern when shown in a gentle, loving way. Do not rub their failure in their face -- they already know that they screwed up. If they didn't they would still be driving around the piece of gnarled scrap metal that went through their first accident because they wouldn't know that their car was totaled and it was their fault. (If you do happen to know anyone like this, do society a favour and notify the proper authorities; as anyone who has been in a serious accident and doesn't know it likely should not still be driving, especially if the lights, steering wheel, doors, windshield, and/or motor of their vehicle have been severely damaged in the accident.) However, the accident victim may still want to talk about their experience as long as you are not judgmental about their role in it. Be considerate and give them a second chance. You're not perfect either.


Brittney Biotite said...

in these people's defences (I'm assuming more then one), the roads WERE pretty scary today...my parents didn't want me to drive either, but they couldn't drive me at the time I needed to be at school. Although, I can certainly see why the "oh, really?!?" response would annoy you.

Kate said...

Yes they were scary and I did hit several icy patches, but good grief, it's like everyone thought that I didn't know that snow equals poor quality road conditions. I appreciate their concern but it's like they think I'm an idiot. I've lived here my whole life. I KNOW it gets icy when it snows.
What really frustrates me is that most of the people who freak out about this have said on numerous occasions that I'm SO intelligent and SO smart. If they really believed that, they would have a little more faith in my ability to adapt.
I suppose it's the hypocrisy that bothers me more than the fact that they want to make sure I know to be safe.