Trust is a very funny emotion. We understand it very well with respect to relationships between two close/related individuals considering that trust makes or breaks their relationship; be it between two friends, a husband and a wife, a parent and his kid(s); and so on.
However clearly we underestimate trust as an emotion when it comes to local communities. Don’t comprehend? Let me give an example.
The other day I was heading back home, from an biking event some 100 miles away. Midway I stopped at a gas station to fuel up when I saw this guy on the side of the road, trying to get a lift from passing cars. I probably spent about 10 odd minutes in that gas station, during which he probably got ignored by more than 50 cars during that period; a lot of them moving out of the gas station, mostly empty with just one single rider.
He didn’t seem so dangerous; he had two luggage bags, and also he had a pair of crutches; on a scale of 1 to 10 (danger to me), I’d probably put him at 3 or 4. So I decided to give him a lift. And I did.
What followed was one of the most interesting conversations I ever had with anyone in US over the last 8 months; we discussed (in detail) about rock songs; Pink Floyd, Jon Bon Jovi, Guns & Roses; and so on. All starting from a Pink Floyd song running on FM when he boarded the car. Of course there was the small matter when he requested if he could have a look at my iPhone (apparently he never had one in his life), and I allowed him to go ahead; and the fact that in the span of 2-3 minutes he used it to look up porn on youtube (lol), which I guess is as weird as it is hilarious!
The fact of the matter is the ride ended just fine; he got down when I asked him to; and even thanked me as graciously as anyone can; considering I was the first one to give him a lift in nearly 8+ hours of standing outside the gas station!
And no matter whom I tell this story to, I always get gasps and dissapproving nods as if I just supported an act of terrorism or something of that kind. And always a rhetorical Q – “What if he turned out to be some nutcase?” or so.
What if he turned out to be a normal fellow who just needed a lift?
And that in short is the problem I see around me – increasingly we seem to lose trust in the world around us. When it comes to uncertaininty regarding a decision we need to make, we seem to give more importance to the negative outputs than the positive ones.
Trust thy neighbour? Not anymore.
Why? Just because some random unknown guy in some random city got screwed when he trusted another random unknown guy; you decide to not trust someone around you; even though you possibly have no concrete reason to distrust him.
And unfortunately, it’s only getting worse.