By George Tarabay
Since the dawn of time (I have no real proof, but please, I beg you to prove me wrong), men have been fighting this battle on a daily basis. It usually starts with “I did not mean it” followed by “Why am I being punished this way?” Women, on the other hand, have long won this battle: if she says it or does it, you bet your bottom dollar she is willing to deal with the consequences (feminist points for Georgie Boy, again!).
Call it the Mayweather vs McGregor battle of humanity, but even after taking the above statement into account, we are all baffled by this question: Should the lack of intent alleviate the punishment, or should punishment be laid equally across all transgressions?
At this point, I can feel you, as a reader (and my favorite editor) going: “Oh! You awesome feminist you! But, what is this really about?”
Well, about two months ago, I was coming back from work early in the morning after a long night of post-production, and I parked my car and jumped into a shopping mall for a quick errand. Little did I know, I had parked in a disabled spot and was fined accordingly.
If you have been in Kuwait for at least 6 months, you probably heard the news that this particular issue is no longer considered a traffic violation, but a crime that pretty much blocks you across all governmental facilities.
A harsh punishment, for a very insensitive transgression. Harsh, but very fair.
While I do not claim any moral high ground as a citizen of this world, there are certain things that I do not mess with, one of which is definitely parking illegally in a disabled parking spot.
This made me think: Should I explain myself and try to prove that it was, indeed, an honest mistake? Or, should I accept my responsibility for this unfortunate mistake?
I chose the latter, but I carried this thought with me. The more I dug deeper into my large head, the more I realized that this methodology of processing my mistakes proves to be the best way to show that my mistakes were, in fact, mistakes. Not only in issues with the law, but also in my own life.
I often find myself in a position where I committed wrong: morally, emotionally, professionally etc. and I realized that while I am not surely some type of psycho who enjoys inflicting pain on to others, I seem to do so anyways by prolonging the time I take to apologize by trying to prove that “I did not mean it”.
It made me realize that when someone signals something that got them upset, the best thing to do immediately is to apologize. While I believe that our freedom is also something sacred, I also believe that when my freedom means inflicting discomfort or pain on to others, I should at least try and process this from their point of view. And the more I did that, the more I found it painful to be facing a person who is constantly explaining themselves and blaming their mistake on circumstances.
The end result is the same: discomfort.
I parked there, I did not mean it. A person who happens to be using a wheelchair arrives to the same location. The spot was taken. Now he/she would have to park further. Now he/she would have to deal with all sorts of logistics to access the mall. This includes cars being parked too close to one other, hindering them from accessing the location they intend to visit with much difficulty. Also, in being forced to follow the main road and share it with moving vehicles, their lives are also endangered in the process.
After all this discomfort, does it really matter that I did not mean it? Does it really matter that I am indeed respectful of them? No, it doesn’t. And let me tell you, I always respected their rights to easy access parking spots, but never understood why or its importance.
I’m glad I assumed my responsibility, and will always do so.
The mistake is done, and the damage is the same. Intent, is what determines how sorry one should feel.
If you are using a wheelchair, I understand a mere one percent of your daily struggles just a little bit more now. I am sorry.
A (hopefully) better citizen of the world,
Photo by Jaie Miller on Unsplash. George Tarabay is a local radio host, comedian, and marketing expert. For his latest updates, follow him on Instagram: @GeorgeTarabay. For more comic relief, check out George on Facebook.com/Georgethecomic.