You Never Know.

Monday, May 30, 2016

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In University - during my undergraduate studies - I got myself involved in politics. I ran for a coveted position.

It was bloody. VERY bloody.

(Ok…less drama)

Nobody died. It was not bloody per se. But it was dirty…very dirty.

(That kind of dirt that’s as dirty as blood)

Let’s just say it was ‘bloody’.

(Where was I?)

I won…but I almost did not win.

I more or less won on a technicality. I did not care; all I knew was I won.

Curiosity got the better of me. I had thought the elections would be a walk over. 

Why did I have to campaign so hard?  Why was I not the go-to winner?? It was a no brainer to be the chosen candidate…or so I thought.

The first response I got: “They hate your guts”.

I did not know what that meant; I was too young and naïve to understand that my rebellious non-conformist side was already being exhibited.

I never knew (for certain) that I had a rebellious non-conformist side. I had my suspicions, but it did not have a definition.

Besides, it was just one person’s assessment. So I dug some more.

The majority of the answers I got was more or less: “You do not greet people. You do not wave back when they wave at you. Your face is always poker-face straight”.

And I smiled.

I have a next door neighbour. We basically get along well…considering that we see about twice in a week, or two.

When we do see, we are generally cordial. And then go back to our hustling private lives.

(That’s how good neighbours co-exist… I guess)

But we did not used to be so cordial.

She had had an outburst one day, and complained that I rarely wave back when she waved, on the occasions I come out in the morning to take out my car from behind hers. 

She thought I was ‘snobbish’.

And I smiled.


There is this clothes store my friend and I patronise once in a while.

(Once in a while for more than four years is no longer so ‘once in a while’)

The store Manager since we started visiting has been this dour-faced lady, whom would barely respond to your questions.

When she did respond with her one-liners (that is, when not responding with blank stares), she would stare so long that one would be spooked out of wanting to ask any further questions.

We stopped getting irritated, and got used to it. We would rather ask the store attendants. 

She became our personal joke.

‘The deaf one’, we called her.

Until we heard she was hard of hearing.

I could not smile.


I know it’s a cliché: “Don’t judge…you never know”.

It is a true cliché.

The struggle with short-sightedness had been from childhood, and before I gave in to prolonged use of glasses/contacts, I would just stare blankly into the open.

Seeing, but not really seeing.

Rather than squint and get a head-ache, I learnt to blot out the blurry motions.

I saw what I could see. Period.

If you were not close enough to not be blurry, wave all you wanted, but I would not see you. Neither physically nor mentally.

This was the case in school. This was the case with cordial neighbour.

While I could not explain this to the old schoolmates I had inadvertently ‘snubbed’, I gleefully explained to neighbour.

“It’s too early for me to don glasses or contacts; I could pull the car without either. But I really cannot see you wave”.

This was the same with the store Manager. We thought she was just annoying.

Perhaps…she was annoying too. But she was hard of hearing first.

This is why we must all learn to practice the “You Never Know” principle.

Be slow to deliver verdicts on the actions of others.

I know; humans are so horrible creatures and exhibit their horribleness from time to time. 

This makes us all put one another in boxes, with disdained labels. Particularly when the “fight or flight” switch in our individual heads is flipped on.

We are quick to explain away (negatively; most times) the reason behind people’s actions.

Snub. Wicked. Stingy. ‘Loose’. Flirt. Proud. Not cool. Annoying. Poor. Uppity.

The labels are endless.

At the very least, we could put our minds in a state of indifference to a person’s actions, and find out the why behind their actions. That is, if we will be fair to them. Before we lock them up in their given box in the corner, and stamp our perpetual label upon them.

You really never know. And may never know.



P.s. This is not to say there are no genuinely unnice persons. There are.

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  1. I can relate to dis...... lol.

  2. Nice piece Schinnel, I can actually happens a lot. I've been on both

  3. Awesome piece.. now I know

  4. Very true... it really does say a lot about first impressions tho. A lot of people have been wrongly labelled for reasons that really are no fault of theirs.

  5. Nice write up Nelo.. Been on both sides oh!!!