Angel or Asshole? #13

Is it presumptuous and/or judgmental to come right out and call someone (or an entire culture) an a-hole? Could we be wrong? Misunderstand his/her/their motivation? I mean A-hole #1 passing a group of cars at 50-60mph and then slowing down and remaining in a no pass zone at 20mph: I had no qualms. His intent was clear. Polluting the earth for profit? Cheating people for profit i.e., the banking culture…no qualms for me, anyway (does the culture create the a-holes or the a-holes create the culture?). A boss who abuses his/her position because he can? No qualms…most of us have been under the thumb of an a-hole at some time in our lives. Why they behave that way is the quandary. I believe it’s possible, as I pointed out in Angel #2, to be an accidental a-hole. We are all guilty of that at least once in a while…but there is no intent, which makes a difference.

So: one day I was heading south on Hopkins Crossroad (a through-type residential street) coming up to Hiwy 7 (a busy 4-lane road). This car in front of me turns left at the service road on the north side of 7 right in front of a motorcycle heading north through a green light crossing 7. The motorcycle strikes the side of the car catapulting the rider over the car and onto the pavement.

At first the car keeps going, so I jump out of my car, now parked in front of the victim protecting him, and run after it to get the license number.  Eventually it stops, so I run back to the victim. It’s a burly young guy and I don’t know if he’s trying to get up or what, but he was flopping around rather violently on his back in the road. I kneel down and calm him telling him not to move. Then I call 911. I keep a hand on him trying to hold him still as he was twitching uncontrollably. I keep talking trying to calm him but I couldn’t tell if he could hear me.

When I look up I see an older couple, probably in their 70’s, checking out the damage to their car. They were paying no attention to me or this fellow they could have killed, probably injured seriously. They only seemed worried about their fricking car. I flushed in anger. I wanted to go spank them. Slap them. How callous! How insensitive! What assholes!

When the cops and ambulance came, I told them what had happened and filled out a report. I never did go over to the old couple. I don’t know what I would have said or done. I did point out to the cop, I’m sure there was bitterness in my voice, that the older couple had only seemed concerned about their car, not the fellow being hauled away in the ambulance. The cop had shrugged and seemed non-judgmental about it.

I thought a lot about that after. Was the older couple in shock? Did they feel so terrible and guilty about what they had done to that poor man that they couldn’t face him or the reality of what they had done? Maybe they had had a son killed in an auto accident and they couldn’t face this horror? So, they distracted themselves by focusing on the damage to their car?

Of course I’ll never know. I’ll have to live with the realization that maybe I just shouldn’t have judge them. But I simply can’t imagine ignoring that man lying in the street. From the cop’s reaction this must happen. So, not fair to consider them assholes? Maybe no one’s an a-hole, we just don’t know their motivation or intent?