Recently, I've had the unfortunate privilege of saying the wrong things at the wrong time.
Unfortunate for the obvious reasons. Privilege for the understanding and empathy of others, especially those thus affected, or at least a minimization of damage done. And, just as importantly, a real life education in the process - not only in what to avoid in the future, but in empathy towards, say, John Kerry.
In fact, it's made me think of a person I've been particularly critical of, and whom others seem (in my view) to be giving a whole lot of leeway, because of their good history with the person. A history that I personally do not share.
It makes me think that despite what I still feel are fully justified reasons for being critical, it is a good thing to know that if you work hard enough to earn people's respect, a real benefit is perhaps not just a mutual respect... but the privilege of that leeway, that bit of extra something when one isn't in his element. We can't all be in our element all the time, after all.
The problem then is with strangers or newcomers who, like I said, don't have that sort of history to rely on, to use in putting things in a larger perspective. In which case, I think there's a certain amount of... shall we say, faith in the idea; the idea of a basic assumption of leeway. Within reason, of course, and based in some part in looking through the eyes of others and seeing not a noneless but somewhat of a lesser evil. Not only coz that's what we would want done towards ourselves (which for me is a somewhat buy-your-way-into-heaven concept, come to think of it), but because it's that sort of trust in the way things work, or at least the way things should work, albeit with a touch of naïveté, that helps the world go around a little better.
Or at least a little easier. Sometimes letting things slide is a good thing after all.
One must learn to move beyond the puddle one trods in,
Even if the speed soonafter is quite simply plodding.
That's the difference between sand and quicksand.
One only impedes, the other demands.