Recently one of my neighbors had a tree cut down. When I went outside that afternoon, I saw orange construction cones blocking the street I live on in both directions. I was not driving anywhere so it did not matter to me. I was, however, going to check my mail down the street. There was large tree laying stretched out across the small yard into the middle of the street. I walked around the far side of the street, away from the guys working. The one guy had a chain saw and continued cutting limbs off the large tree. The other guy cleared away the debris and loaded it into a trailer.
On my way back from the mail box, the man running the chain saw had stopped to put up yellow caution tape all the way around the job site. The tape ordering me to stay out immediately infuriated me. I stood for but a moment, boiling in rage at the nerve. I looked to see my options for an alternate path to return home, which was so close straight ahead. I refuse to walk through neighbors’ yards, so the only other way was to make an extremely long, inconvenient detour. When the guy got close enough, I asked him a question. “Did you put this up for me?” He informed me that he needed to keep people out while they were working because he didn’t want them getting hurt. I thought, what a jerk! Not him – me. He allowed me to pass back through on the far side and just needed to be notified that someone was in the area.
In this age of entitlement, I saw all the barriers put up to protect me as an intrusion. I had a right to walk the street as I saw fit, or at least that is how I felt at the time. I thought that the guy had nerve trying to make me take the long way around. I’m ashamed to say, I thought wrong. It would seem the moment we feel someone is trying to take something from us, we lash out at them in anger.
The small crew had been working all day in the hot sun since the tree was first dropped. I had some sports drinks that I put in the freezer to cool off. I went about my activities again and finished preparing dinner. After eating, I knew I had to go back out to apologize. It had been bothering from the moment I went back inside, after our encounter.
The drinks were meant to be a peace offering to the guys. I went back out with the drinks and apologized. He told me it was okay and then proceeded to tell me that he only set the barriers up so that no one would get hurt. While they were working without knowledge of me passing by, they did not want parts of the tree to fall on me while walking through the area. After all, they would likely be held responsible if I got hurt, not ignorant me. In a society where we blame everyone else for our own ignorant folly, it makes it harder for people just doing their job. People like them would be held accountable, even though I was the one putting myself in that situation.
In case you feel that someone is trying to take away your rights by putting up barriers, just remember many barriers are put in place to protect us from that which would do us harm. By the way, they accepted my apology and welcomed the peace offering. While it doesn’t take a small gift to obtain forgiveness, I was glad to do it. The point is, when you are wrong, admit it and apologize. Don’t be a jerk like I was!