I read an article awhile back written by a woman talking about how she was a perfect mother - before she had children. She talked about how she thought she would never let her kids eat fast food or watch tv, but after she had kids she realized that you can't judge someone unless you've been in that situation.
For the most part, I agree that you can't make judgments about a person and think how you would "do it better" if it was you. When I see a parent carrying their screaming child through the mall I have nothing but sympathy. But there are some things people do, or say, or wear, etc...and in these cases I have no choice but to judge. I don't even mean "judge" in a negative context...I should say "make decisions about."
1. If you have a handicapped sticker on your license plate, and I'm behind you on the road, I will immediately assume you are a slow and/or bad driver. I will pass you if it is safe to do so in anticipation of your bad driving skills. If you make one tiny mistake - even one that I have made plenty of times - like drift slightly to one side of the lane, or forget to use your turn signal - I will sigh with exasperation and look at you to catch your eye as I pass so you know that I am comparing your driving to my superior car-handling abilities. If I can't pass, I won't tailgate, but I will talk to you. I know you can't hear me, but I'll be talking just the same. If you tap your brakes for no apparent reason, I will remind you that you don't need to panic every time the car in front of you slows down. And I will feel a sense of vindication if our eyes do meet as we pass, because I know that you will know that we have battled, and I have won.
Now, please don't think I'm insensitive to handicapped people - that isn't it. I rear-ended someone on the highway a few months ago; I'm a far from perfect driver. And I know that being handicapped doesn't mean you should loose your freedom. But if you drive around West Bloomfield, where there seem to be a large number of a certain group of drivers......ellipses....you cannot tell me you don't make the same assumption.
2. The next one is a very clear case of the pot calling the kettle black. I was an English major, but I can't spell. I admit that. But if I read something, like a news article, or a syllabus for one of my classes, and there are spelling or grammatical errors, I will immediately assume the author is careless, and depending on the nature of the writing, not that smart. I'm not talking about emails or casual writing - like I said, I'm a horrible speller so I don't care if I get an email from a friend with spelling mistakes - but if you're going to write something that other people need to get information from, or that something that someone HAS to read - take the time to make sure words are spelled correctly! A law firm posted an article about something...I don't remember what...and in the article they used "your" instead of "you're." Do you know how much money some lawyers charge per hour? If I'm going to fork over cash for every 5 minutes you spend writing an email, you better know the difference between "your" and "you're."
3. I judge you if you run more than 5 miles at one time. Many of my friends are runners. Many of them have run marathons. Well guess what. I think you are all insane. I love you all. I respect the fact that you want to take care of yourself, and I know many people really love running...but also I think you're insane.
4. Ok, last one...and it is a parent one. I know I said that I have nothing but sympathy for the parent carrying their screaming child through the mall, and that is true. But I will judge you as a parent if you decide that it is ok to bring your child to a restaurant (that isn't Chucky Cheese or some other kid-centered place) at 9:30 at night, and in doing so, get upset when the kid is cranky and whiny and misbehaving. When I worked at Bennigan's a family came in shortly before closing time with small children and requested a table away from others so they wouldn't bother anyone. How thoughtful. Forget the fact that your child threw crayons and food all over the floor, cried until you let them drink coke with their chicken fingers, and insisted on taking 4 trips to the bathroom. News flash - your 4-year-old should not be expected to take a night out on the town with mom and dad like an adult. I'm not saying parents should hibernate and never go out with their kids - but if the only way you can do anything is if you bring your kids along, go to Wendy's and have a car picnic. Go to Red Robin - there are always tons of kids there and they have balloons and crap all over the walls. But if you can, try to go earlier in the night because your kids are tired, even if they insist that they aren't. Don't let them trick you into thinking you're not in charge!
I guess that's it for now - I held back from saying anything about country music, hipsters, and people who write blogs that no one wants to read - so hopefully I didn't make too many people mad.