Some people percieve ONLY what they expect to percieve, and/or WANT to percieve. They simply zone out on anything too weird or outside their desires or their expectations.
It’s true, swelp me, it’s true… and I think an experience I had this afternoon is a prime example of it.
I’d just left the ATM in the mall parking lot, and was headed out of the lot, sitting in line, waiting for the light to change, right? Behind me is a little SUV with a couple of middle-aged soccer mom-types in it. I glanced in my rearview, and saw one of them get out of the car and move forward, on the driver’s side of MY car, right?
Now, I’d just left the ATM, I was carrying cash (gotta go get the Mrs. tonight at the airport, and thought it would be good to have cash for parking and so on), and I was suspicious. I watched her in the side mirror as she got closer – and she saw me watching, made eye contact, and WAVED as she approached.
I casually cocked an arm on the door (locking the door with my elbow as I did so), and cracked the window to see what she wanted.
“Campus crusade!” she chirped, making a gesture I didn’t understand at the time. “Good to see you! Could you pass these out for me?” she said, shoving a sheaf of yellow Xeroxes through the window gap at me.
Thoroughly bumfuzzled, I took the yellow sheaf. She didn’t wait for me to look at them; she smiled, thanked me, waved again, and went back to her car.
I looked at the Xeroxes. They were an ad for some kind of Methodist religious retreat thing for single twentysomethings, featuring some sort of famous Methodist preacher I’d never heard of.
The light had changed, so I drove, wondering like hell what had caused this woman to behave in this manner… did I KNOW this woman? Had she mistaken me for someone she knew? What the hell?
…and as I happened to glance in the rearview one more time, I realized what had happened.
She’d seen the CAMPUS CRUSADE FOR CTHULHU sticker on my rear windshield. THAT’s what the weird gesture had been – she was pointing at my bumper sticker when she said, “Campus Crusade!”
It didn’t seem to have registered in her little mind that the full text of my favorite bumper sticker reads CAMPUS CRUSADE FOR CTHULHU: IT found ME! complete with gory drippy horror font and tentacles fondling the words.
She’d seen the words CAMPUS CRUSADE, misinterpreted it, and approached me, thinking I was playing on HER team…