Tuesday, October 11, 2011

When we don’t know what’s going on!

“Sudden acceleration problems”. This was the wording used in the media when a car was described as speeding out of control.

I was looking to buy a car made by the same company that was under suspicion for having this problem in one of their other vehicles. It was explained to me that the problem was probably a floor mat moving out of position, driver error, conspiracy theory, etc.

Whatever... I decided I liked this car and my husband and I bought it. It “cornered” nicely and it was so much fun to press all those buttons on the control panel. Keep in mind my mentioning these “buttons”.

A couple of months later, I was cruising along without any concerns in the fast lane on a six lane freeway. All of a sudden my passenger leaned over to adjust one of the buttons on the dash probably for the temperature. And... all of a sudden I didn’t have any power!

This was the opposite reaction that had been publicized about some of the company’s products, remember?

Did I say that every lane on my side of the highway was filled with speeding cars?

I didn’t know what was happening but I knew I wasn’t speeding out of control... actually I wasn’t speeding at all.

I put on my turn signals and tried to change lanes before I would come to a complete stop. But it didn’t seem like anyone wanted to let me in their lane. I got honked at but I just kept trying to move over as I kept slowing down. I finally made it across the lanes and pulled onto the shoulder.

I sat there waiting until I felt good enough to try starting the car again. It purred back to life and we drove home safely. My passenger thought they might have accidentally touched a button that caused the problem but we still don’t know why the power went off. It’s been a few months since then and I’ve enjoyed driving it.

But this memory might have been lurking in my mind when I recently parked outside Cannon Falls’ city hall. I pulled in next to a large black SUV. I was sitting so low compared to it that I couldn’t see in its windows.

I pressed the button to turn off my engine.

But I didn’t stop moving!

I still had my foot on the brake pedal so I jammed it harder.

I still didn’t stop!

I realized I would be on the grass if I didn’t do something and a sudden wave of nausea hit me as I kept rolling.

But at the same time - out of the corner of my eye I realized that the big SUV next to me wasn’t staying in place. It was backing out of its parking spot. So I wasn’t really moving at all!

It was just from my perspective of not seeing that the higher vehicle next to me had a driver in it and the perfect timing of their car moving backwards - that I had thought that I was the one who was moving!

I got out of my sweet parked car... and since then have pondered how much our “perception” influences our belief in what “reality” really is in everyday life.