Wed | Mar 29, 2017

Your Bimmer doesn't drive me crazy

Published:Tuesday | July 22, 2014 | 7:00 AM

By Patria-Kaye Aarons, Guest Columnist

Impressions are a heck of a thing. I've always thought myself a relatively perceptive person and, I'll admit, I judge. Recently, at a traffic light, a criss blue BMW pulled up beside me and already with his windows rolled down, the handsome driver turned to me, smiled and said, "Hi". But I saw past the cute driver and his BMW. I saw his dashboard - his dust-covered dashboard. And from that brief encounter, I made some deductions about him right then and there.

He makes bad decisions. Any man who buys a BMW and can't gas it hasn't thought through the decision logically. His glistening skin and the sweat pouring down his face were evidence that he was clearly burning up in the summer heat, but couldn't afford to turn on the A/C.

He's an insecure profiler. He seems to feel that his fancy car is enough to grab people's attention. He relies on his car to earn him popularity points. But all I saw was a man car-rich and pocket-poor.

I couldn't trust him to do manly things. I firmly believe that a man should keep his car (and mine) clean. If you can't even keep the dashboard clean, I assume you can't handle other manly tasks like fixing things and killing lizards.

I then went on to say, 'OK, what if it wasn't his car? What if it were a borrowed vehicle?' But my overanalytical mind thought then, 'Why would you have to borrow a BMW? Don't you have any Corolla-owning friends?'

Suffice to say, I was not impressed by the BMW or the BMW driver.

That experience made me really understand the notion of the 'first impression'. My overactive imagination and overly critical assumptions cast aspersions not only on this stranger's car-care ability, but I judged his character. I deduced all of that from the briefest interaction at the stop light. And such is life.

Whether it's a job interview, first date or chance encounter, every day we are judged. And, as is human nature, people look to find the faults. You put your best foot forward, try your hardest, and flash your most dazzling smile, and the world is busy looking for the dust on your dashboard.

In reacting to this truth, you have two options. You can either meticulously self-assess and try to spot all those things people might perceive as flaws and mask them. You can proactively check and double-check everything and become your own personal devil-in-the-detail in the hope of presenting to others this facade of perfection, removing any ammunition for you to be judged negatively.

But I'm pretty sure that's a long, painful process that requires time and even more effort. And it must do something to your morale, and plant the subtlest seed that you are never good enough. I realise that I, too, am judged. There are those who read this article now and say, "That's why she nuh have no man. Too picky-picky and criticise every little thing." Maybe you're right.

Your other option in dealing with the truth that you will be judged is just to live and be happy. Accept yourself for who you are and be OK knowing that people will make up whatever they want to in their heads about you. Counter people's constant search for your negatives with personal reminders of your positives.

For all I know, Mr BMW is living his best life ever and is going home to his pretty wife and three children and they're all going to wash the BMW together like one big, happy family. And he couldn't care less what I thought about him or his dashboard.

We will all be judged, and many impressions formed about us will be far from the truth. People don't know you and they will always make things up to fill in the many blanks. Accept that, and move on. Because what matters most is what you think of yourself.

Sometimes you just have to drive with your windows down, flash that smile, turn up the music and don't give a damn who sees your dashboard.

Patria-Kaye Aarons is a television presenter and confectioner. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and findpatria@yahoo.com.