Blake Snow

content advisor, recognized journalist, bodacious writer-for-hire

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Giving someone the benefit of the doubt lessens aggravation in life

The Utah Department of Transportation is currently widening the road (800 N) in front of my apartment. It hasn’t been the end of the world, but it’s still a nuisance — not only for local residents but for street side retailers trying to drive business.

One such retailer, a truck dealership, began commandeering the unfinished lanes in front of his property over the weekends (while UDOT isn’t working) to showcase his trucks and lure in customers. When I first saw this a couple months back, I said to myself in snooty fashion: “He can’t do that. He doesn’t own those lanes — those are public.”

Over time, the owner began ramping up his promotional efforts. Not only was he parking SUV’s on said construction lanes, he was leaving doors open, turning on blinkers, parking on gravel mounds, and all matter of creative exercises to gain the attention of passersby. With that, my feelings quickly went from perturbed to straight up angry. “This is pissing me off,” I once said while driving home. “I should do something about this.”

My cheap threats then culminated into premeditated specifics last week, when I openly told my wife who was with me in the car, “I should take a shovel and start dumping piled dirt into those open doors.”

“Blake, why are you so angry about this?” my wife asked in a gentle tone. “His business has likely suffered from the road construction, and he is probably dealing with the inconvenience as best as he can.”

She was right. I instantly realized how foolish, unfair, and cold-hearted I had been. By doing so, I invited unnecessary aggravation into my life by not giving a stranger the benefit of the doubt.

It was a welcome reminder. I now secretly root for the dealership every time I drive by.