I went for a drink in Cabbagetown last night with an old friend. I have always loved visiting that neighbourhood with its turn-of-the-century homes nestled into gentrified side streets, flanked by two housing projects and Parliament Street, the main artery, with its posh-seedy ambience. It is like an inner-city village.
My friend, who was here from out of town, had recently been in a car accident. She had been driving home from a cottage, came around a bend, and saw a police officer in the middle fo the road who was diverting cars away from the scene of an accident.
She applied the brakes, but on the gravel road, could not stop in time to avoid hitting the young officer, who would not move.
She swerved to miss him, lost control of the car, and flipped over. Thankfully, when she was pulled out of the car, she was fine (whiplash and minor cuts and bruises). Hooray for seatbelts and airbags!
She caught a taxi home in the next town, and told the driver about her accident.
"I choose not to wear a seatbelt," he said. "I really encourage you to wear one. It just saved my life!" she answered, shocked. "Nah, I don't like to wear one. There was one time that I could have been killed if I had been wearing a belt."
The taxi driver went on to describe a rock going through his windsheild, where, had he been pinned in by a seatbelt, he would have not been able to dodge the deadly boulder.
She went on to explain that sure, maybe 2% of the time it is better to NOT wear one, but hey, once you have told someone your experience, you can't start converting them if they are not persuaded by your account.
It is weird how upset I get in scenarios like that. If I have gone through a big, painful experience that illustrated what I believe to a clear, objective truth, I want people to learn from it.
Like yoga advocates, the '80's fibre craze, and ex-smokers: You can start to prosthelytise, showing people your flexible limbs, unobstructed colon, lung x-rays.
Unlike religion, you have tangible proof of your experience. But there will always be the "My grandmother smoked 'til 100" people.
Citing any example repeatedly starts to feel like religion after a while. And unless you are the type of person who takes up causes, it is hard not to feel creepy preaching your truth.
(is it just me, or does this read like an afterschool special?)