I’m writing to apologize for my last post.  I was too harsh.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have made a character judgment of two middle-aged men based on a 2 minute encounter.  Surely the weight of 50 years of good behavior outweighs 2 minutes of poor behavior.

Yeah, I suppose it might, but I don’t have 50 years of experience with these two.  I have two minutes.  

Maybe the strength of my reaction comes from the myth of seniority.  When you’re a kid you’re taught to look up to your elders.  Your parents are untouchable, and you assume the same of others.  As you age you start to see the cracks.  The “super cool” guy that used to hang out with you despite being a few years older was only there because he couldn’t make friends his age.  The laid back teacher you loved was a raging alcoholic.  Worse, your parents were occasionally wrong.  I learned that a long time ago.

Yet I still expected better from those two men on the trail.

I guess what really gets me is that they both went away from that experience feeling like big powerful men.  They should have walked away feeling embarrassed. 

That’s how I walked away. I felt embarrassed for them.  So did the man’s wife and daughter.  So did the other people on the trail that day.  I converted my embarrassment to anger because it’s easier to deal with but that isn’t quite right.  Being angry just makes me like them, and I’m embarrassed about that.

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