My lease was up on my Mazda6, and I decided to get another one – the 2010 model had a new look and some updated features. Sometimes you read about high-tech gadgets and snort (do I really need something like that??), but this car had something I’d never heard of before, and I immediately liked it because it addressed a real problem.
The feature? A Blind Spot Detection System.
Signals are sent out from the area of the two rear wheel wells, and when another vehicle is in your “blind” spot, a subtle but clear-enough little yellow indicator shows up in the side view mirror. And, if you hit your turn signal when something is in your blind spot, indicating that you’re about to move over, a warning tone sounds.
Why is this nice? Because we all have blind spots. And the best way to deal with them is to have some indicator that is watching our back, and letting us know what we don’t see.
For cars, that’s gadgetry. But in life, that’s usually people. People who are kind and caring and committed enough to tell us when we’re missing something. People who stay alongside us and gently, but firmly, let us know when we’re flying a bit blind. Because blind spots are reality – and true friends want to help prevent a crash.
One of my blind spots is “hacking around” with people. I like to joke and tease, and, in fact, it’s really a sign of affection in my family (if you’re NOT being teased, that’s when you worry…). But not everyone has the same outlook or sense of humor. I’ve had to eat some mea culpa crow more than once for carrying things a bit too far on Twitter (and in other places). Flying blind right into other people’s feelings.
I think it’s relatively easy to admit that we have blind spots, but what’s a lot harder to acknowledge with others is the broken limbs that afflict us. By this, I don’t mean arms in a sling. I mean biochemical/mood disorders. Emotional/mental instability. A family history of autism. Scars of childhood abuse. Parents or spouses or children afflicted with persistent medical conditions. Disease guilt. Wayward children. And the multitude of other limp-creating troubles that we don’t like to show.
And, in fact, it’s probably good that we don’t parade out for all to see every affliction that is behind those closed doors of our lives. But, like with our blind spots, and perhaps more so, we still need those who have our back. Those who come alongside, listen, understand, and provide warmth instead of judgment. Sometimes – most of the time – we can’t “fix” the situation. We just have to show up.
Do you have people like that in your life? If not, it’s time to stop pretending that you’re omniscient, or impervious to the troubles of this life. And, someone out there needs you watching their back also!
(and, by the way – like most people, I don’t particularly welcome boneheaded criticism from those who don’t even know me. But I DEEPLY value those who have earned my trust and respect, who are willing to be my Blind Spot Detection System. Or lend a hand when I’m limping!)