Here’s an example of how my own, and someone else’s lack of the character quality of alertness impacted my life…
I was driving faster than the speed limit, but not much faster. Cars were passing me. As we topped a hill, the drivers of two cars that had been following me saw their opportunity to go around me. Both of them started around me, but then we all saw the sheriff’s car at the bottom of the hill.
One of the cars fell back in behind me. It was too late, though. The sheriff’s deputy stopped all three of us.
As we pulled to the side of the highway, I heard him say with his bullhorn for us to pull forward as far as we could. The driver of the car in front of me (the one that had passed me) evidently didn’t hear those instructions and did not pull forward as far as she could.
Trying to be obedient, and helpful, I pulled around the car in front of me. I ended up being in the front of the line. When the deputy finally got to me to write my speeding ticket, he told me that his radar had clocked me at 79 miles per hour (the speed limit was 55 mph).
I argued with him. I knew that I had not been going more than 69 mph (I had my speedometer set to warn me at 70 mph) and I told him so, but to no avail. It was not until much later that it occurred to me that he apparently had not seen me pull around the car in front of me to a position in the front of the line. He assumed that since I was in the front position, it was me that he had clocked at the higher speed. He had not been alert> to the details of which car was going fastest, and I got the ticket that was meant for the other driver.
It often happens that we are affected by the character of other people. In this case, it was the officer’s lack of alertness.
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