One beautiful day a week ago, I hopped out of my vehicle to give a friend a quick hug. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a grey-haired athletic-looking woman riding her bike towards me. She came closer and then swerved around me, saying, ‘idling’.
Startled, I said, “pardon?”
“Idling,” she said, eyes wide and glaring; her tone adding, “you idiot”’ to the word. Then, flinging her hand out from her forehead, she rode off into the distance.
Startled out of our good-bye hug, my friend and I shared an ah-ha moment. We realized that she was talking about my idling vehicle.
For those who do not know me, I would like to explain that I am a conscientious person, living green in my day to day life. On that beautiful day I made a mistake, I left my vehicle idling.
And now, I have something to say to that woman. Actually I have something to say to all self-chosen environmental watchdogs. Thanks for caring about our environment. Really. I appreciate your commitment. Here’s a heads-up though. If you are truly concerned about environmental issues and sincerely want to educate the public and effect lasting social change, take a deep breath and be respectful. Involve people, encourage people, care about people. Social change movements can be fun and fulfilling, instead of shaming and mean.
If I could go back in time, and if I could rewrite the script of what happened to me, that self-righteous bike rider would have morphed into a bike rider who slowed down and smiled, who stayed out of my personal space and asked me if I wanted the ‘This vehicle does not idle :)’ sticker she just happened to have with her. I would have made the connection and would have been even more careful about idling in future.