"There's a warrant out for your arrest, I put it on my bed."10:34:00 PM
Last week I woke up to my little sisters tugging at me, "wake up, Dad needs you, its something about a ticket." Ticket? In my state of sleep-deprived delirium I thought something must be wrong with my flight to India (this idea holds absolutely no water in retrospect)so I rushed to his office. I found him calm, collected and dignified as always, "Morning Mal" "Morning Dad, did you need me?" "Oh, yeah, there's a warrant out for your arrest, I put it on my bed." "Oh. Great. Thanks." Ideal morning right? Well after a week of torment, trying to figure out on my own (in my stubborn pride) what I could possibly have a warrant for, I called the courts. The warrant was for failure to appear in court. Court for what? Well, I got in an accident a few years back, totaled my car (it was my fault, naturally) and I apparently had never taken care of the ticket. Well a court visit and a painful $400 dollar fine later I am warrant-free (hallelujah) and my passport is no longer suspended. Why does this matter? Through this odd process I came to realize that we tend to act the way we believe people view us. Something about reputation is very oddly in direct proportion with our actions. I know I am not a criminal but something about having a warrant out for my arrest made me feel like I was. What made me question my own knowledge? I didn't necessarily act on this feeling but it was subtly lingering in the back of my mind, particularly before I discovered the reason for the warrant. I acted differently around the people who knew about the warrant because I somehow felt like it gave me some sort of justification; like if I cursed or said something out of line it was okay because that's what is expected of a "criminal".
I'm being dramatic, I know. There was just this feeling of "you've already lost your good standing with this person, what else do you have to lose?" So you say things out of character and you fulfill their expectation in the worst way possible, when you had every chance at dismissing it. What worries me is that perhaps we do this each time we mess up; you do something you shouldn't have, word gets out, part of your reputation is dismissed and you no longer have that part of your reputation to lose, that area is free rein. So why don't we simply rebuild? Perhaps it is because we know that people don't forget, even when a person has changed they are seen as changed, rehabilitated, but the skeletons haunt them from the closet. Being seen as changed, this in and of itself may not be a bad thing but it is this perspective that often deters us from the actual change, why would I maintain anything but the lowest form of my reputation? Are we only as good as people believe us to be? No. But we forget. We forget because reconstructing your good graces with society is a difficult task, but sometimes all it takes is finding a different society. The real moral? No one can judge. Not now. Not ever. Our judgment is more detrimental than we will ever comprehend, every time. While I was waiting in line to speak with a hearing adviser I found myself wondering about the people surrounding me. Why are they here? What have they done? I recognized my error immediately, you are right there in line with them.
p.s. It seems that homeboy (Bob Marley) was right. He usually is.