Truth or lie?

In my previous two posts, here and here, I discussed the issue of lying and the suggestions that:

  • lying may be a part of human nature
  • it is difficult to tell whether someone, even a child, is lying or not.

This morning when I parked my car at work, the young man in the car in the next parking bay called out, “I’m stuck.”

I asked him what the problem was, and he explained that he had parked too close to the car beside him and couldn’t get out.

I walked around his car and saw that there was a gap of about 15 centimetres between the two cars, not enough to open a door.

As I glanced along between them, I noticed that the side mirror of the other car, which had reversed into the park, was broken. I said nothing, and, so far as I am aware my facial expression didn’t change. However, the young man immediately protested, “I didn’t do that. I promise you, I didn’t do that!

I didn’t respond to his remark but thought, “Yeah right!” I then proceeded to guide him out of his car park by suggesting he tuck in his side mirror and straighten his wheels. He was then able to reverse out without hitting the car beside him, and drive back in giving himself enough room to get out of his car.

Although he stated his innocence, I didn’t know if he had caused the damage to the mirror on the other car.

  • Why did he protest immediately when I’d hardly had time to notice it, let alone mention it? Wouldn’t he have done better to say nothing?
  • Was it too much of a coincidence that the car should be damaged in a way that may have been caused by this young man trying to reverse out?
  • Why would he have even noticed the damage to the mirror or think it worthy of mention? Did his protests not imply his guilt?

What was I to do?

If he was guilty he should leave a note for the driver, apologizing and giving his details. If he was guilty and didn’t do that, should I leave a note telling the driver his licence number and explaining what I suspected? What if I supplied that information and he was innocent?

What then? I’d be telling a lie.

Call me gullible but I do prefer to take people at face value and believe in their honesty. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a suspicious mind. However, I had no way of ascertaining, without access to transdermal optical imaging, as mentioned by Kang Lee whether this young man was telling the truth or a lie. So I wished him a good day and left it at that.

When I returned to my car in the afternoon, both cars were still there. I checked the young man’s side mirror to see if it was damaged. I thought that if he had damaged the other car’s mirror with his, then his mirror would likely be damaged too. But it was not.

Was he telling the truth? Was it just a coincidence? I’ll never know. But it did give me something to think about.

What do you think?

PS The characters in this story are real, as are the incidents. It was a young male driver, and not me, who was having difficulty parking! And me who helped him!

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

26 thoughts on “Truth or lie?

  1. Dayne Sislen, Children's Book Illustrator

    I sometimes take on guilt for things I haven’t done. Maybe that’s part of being the oldest child in my family. Even if I didn’t do something myself, I should have stopped it from happening. I swear, if you would have given me a lie-detector test after asking me if I broke the other cars mirror, I would have flunked. So, I would like to believe he was honest. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      I think that’s true too. I may have! No. Surely not?
      Actually today I saw another young man having difficulty parking, even with a second young man guiding him. It took them ages to figure it out. What is it with young men these days! Two instances makes a stereotype. Not!
      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  2. Rowena

    I voted for his guilt but after reading Geoffle’s comment, would like to ask if you looked on the ground and saw any particles of glass, even very small? That would’ve been another clue. I have quite a lot of trouble parking and our poor car has a few scrapes. Actually, I hit our side mirror today while parking against a pole and there wasn’t a mark. My mother recently knocked a guy’s mirror off and her friends mentioned that they put their mirrors in when they park. I think they have a special button on their cars…must be luxury models.
    xx Ro

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      I didn’t think to look on the ground for particles of glass, but the the mirror was badly cracked, perhaps, rather than broken. There would not have been many pieces.
      I see the number of guilty votes is increasing. Some of us are right!
      Mirrors are definitely the easiest thing to hit. I sometimes fold mine in if I am too close to a pole or wall and prevent damage that way. I haven’t thought to fold them in each time I park. I guess one would get into the habit of it, but even if I fold my in to reverse, I sometimes forget to put them back until I go to look into them when I’m driving, which isn’t the best time! I think a lot of cars have buttons for adjusting the mirrors from the inside. I haven’t thought to check mine out. I’m sure they’re there, or maybe that’s just for the angle of the glass.
      Thanks for sharing and voting! 🙂

      Like

      Reply
  3. katespencer17

    Norah, I think it is funny that you should have such a illustrative scenario play out in your real life right after posting about it. Like Dimity I give people the benefit of the doubt first. I tend to be able to come up with innocent reasons that motivate people to behave the way they do. Three cheers for figuring out how to help the young man park his vehicle! A kind samaritan always gets my vote. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      It is funny, isn’t it, Kate? But perhaps these things happen quite frequently and I just happened to take notice because I was posting about it.
      I think most who have commented have been willing to believe the young man, though the poll is showing otherwise at the moment.
      I was very pleased to be able to help him. It’s always a nice feeling, knowing that someone’s day has improved because of a simple action.
      Thanks for reading and commenting. You’ve just improved mine! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  4. Annecdotist

    Real life is crammed with moral dilemmas, it’s better to stay at home with a book. Although in this case fabulous that the world is throwing up issues consistent with the themes of your latest posts. (And I voted “lying”, and not surprised to find my scepticism is not so wildly shared with your blog readers. Although, in retrospect, high levels of anxiety can make us behave “oddly”, perhaps leading to the young man appearing guilty when he wasn’t.) Also congratulations on steering him out of the space!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Are you saying there are no moral dilemmas to challenge us in books, Anne? 🙂 I was intrigued that this situation occurred so soon after writing the previous posts about lying. I’m sure there’ll be some who’ll say it was meant to be, to challenge my thinking. But, perhaps, like the broken mirror, it was just a coincidence.
      Thanks for letting me know you voted lying. I have just checked the results and those choosing “Lying” are ahead (60-40) at the moment. I don’t think that’s enough for a conviction yet, though. I’d love to see him again and ask for a truthful response now that the situation is over and there’s no risk of finding the other driver. (It would give me another post to write!)
      Thank you for your congratulations on maneuvering the young man safely out of the park. I accept with pleasure. I thought it was quite a good reversal of the usual ageist and sexist stereotyping! 🙂

      Like

      Reply
  5. Hugh's Views and News

    Interesting situation I think many of us will find ourselves in one day, Norah.
    I always think that unless I have witnessed something, then I should never assume. When he mentioned that he had not caused the damage, before you had the chance to see it, then it does make me think that he was guilty. Then, when you said there was no damage to his side mirror, I thought he could not have caused the damage. But then I am assuming, which takes me back to what I said earlier.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for joining in the conversation, Hugh. I think you’re right about making assumptions. It’s easy to jump to the wrong conclusions. I think most of us agree that he was innocent. I don’t think the damage was done with his mirror, and I don’t think it could have been done with any other part of his car. It’s nice to know we’re in agreement on this anyway. He’s off the hook!

      Like

      Reply
      1. Hugh's Views and News

        You’re welcome, Norah. You know, your post got me thinking yesterday about how I would cope if I was called up for jury service. Having said what I said, I’ve kinda shot myself in the foot about knowing if someone is telling a lie. 🙃

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
        1. Norah Post author

          Did anyone see you do it? If no one saw you do it, they can’t make that assumption.:)
          I’ve never been called up for jury duty, thankfully. It must be very difficult to make a decision about someone’s else life, and almost impossible to not be subjective and let personal responses come into play.

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply
  6. TanGental

    Such a moral maze is a car park! No idea, of course. I do wonder whether the extent of the damage might have helped. If the wing mirror was broken off, hanging on by its cables then it seems hard to envisage how that could be done by a car reversing out of a space unless he was leaving at some speed. If the glass was broken or the plastic framing cracked then that’s more likely. But as with everyone else, no clue.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      I wondered what the lawyer might think. 🙂 It was just the glass that was cracked, and quite badly. If he did it, it could only have been done with his mirror. But his mirror wasn’t damaged. So while we have no idea, I think it’s fair to give him the benefit of the doubt. Thank you for confirming that.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  7. Susan Scott

    Mmmmmm – if no damage to his car then I’d say he was telling the truth. And it is possible that damage to the mirror of the other car was already there. Also, I would consider my role in this drama – you helped him park so he could get out. His drama, his karma sort of thing?

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Susan. Seems like most of us agree about his innocence. I’m pleased about that. I think the mirror was probably already damaged. For him to have done it, it would have had to be with his mirror, and it wasn’t damaged. And I do feel good about being able to help him. It’s always nice to feel useful!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  8. Steven

    I think you have to assume that he was truthful, but his response does seem kind of suspicious. If you are parking your car between two others, you usually don’t look to see if all its appendages are attached unless something has brought that to your attention. Perhaps in this case it was so obvious that he noticed it before you did (and wanted to get the record straight up front). I think by your action of surveying the scene later in the day, you had done what you can to reasonably satisfy that he must have been telling the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks, Steven. Actually I think he probably was truthful, I have decided. I think a guilty person may have ignored the broken mirror, hoping I wouldn’t notice it. He may have then feigned surprise if I commented.
      I’ll never know, but I feel happier thinking he was truthful and that the broken mirror was just a coincidence. I didn’t notice him trying to reverse out before I parked. Thanks for your reassurance.

      Like

      Reply
  9. codeinfig

    “Why did he protest immediately when I’d hardly had time to notice it, let alone mention it? Wouldn’t he have done better to say nothing?”

    it would be better to have said nothing; it looked bad enough without saying anything. but the best two reasons for him to do what he did are 1. anxiety, and 2. guilt. note that these could overlap, (or not.)

    “Was it too much of a coincidence that the car should be damaged in a way that may have been caused by this young man trying to reverse out?”

    no, but it is *undoubtedly* suspicious.

    “Why would he have even noticed the damage to the mirror or think it worthy of mention? Did his protests not imply his guilt?”

    depends on what you mean by “imply.” if “suggest” is the word you meant, then it does suggest guilt. but if you mean “sort of proves,” then no. it doesnt prove it, not even sort of.

    the fact is, he could be innocent. short of proof, the “correct” answer depends on whether you want to live in a world where guilty-looking innocents still get the benefit of the doubt until proof comes, or one where waiting for proof doesnt stand in the way of bringing all guilty parties to justice.

    personally i think the cost of assuming guilt without proof is too high to build society that way. but in a world with 24/7 media and 7 billion people to settle things out, its increasingly tempting and common to say “the heck with it” and just assume guilt whenever some reason can be found. if that is what you want to do, you will find the number of people in agreement continues to grow. a pity for all of us– but at least its bad for the guilty too…

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you so much for you comment. I like the way you stepped through, working out the possibilities as I did.
      I think you’re right. “Suggest” was probably a better choice of word than “imply”. I guess if he had noticed the mirror (but hadn’t done it) he would have thought everyone would jump to the conclusion that he had, so needed to defend himself straight up. Perhaps ignoring it, hoping no one would notice may have been more suggestive of guilt.
      I agree. It does feel better to give people the benefit of the doubt.
      Thanks for adding your thoughts to the conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  10. Dimity Powell

    I’d love to vote, but prefer the mystery of life unexplained at times, Norah. This is an interesting quandary you present. I always like to err on the side of gullibility, too. It is far better in my eyes to look for the good and truth in people before jumping to conclusions. However, as I have a background in marketing, I know all too well about the powers of deception. Cynicism lurks within us all, including me. I just try to suppress it as best I can. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Dimity. I look for the good too – unless it’s something promoted by an advertising company! Then I might question their purposes. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s