We all do things we don’t mean, say sometimes things without filtering them first, and judge each other within 20 second of meeting someone for the first time. In a split second, our brain judges whether someone is a friend or an enemy, loyal, attractive or neither automatically. These things are the human’s natural habit; each and every one has his own level of this effect. This effect helps us survive in the world we live in, and bind us to certain groups, or indifferent us from others. This is the human way of letting our emotions and thoughts about the person hide without realizing we did it. But there are those who after sizing a person in those split seconds and making a judgement also slip it out.
Now for the person doing/saying these slips means nothing to them. It has such a low effect and meaning on them that most of the time the person doesn’t even realize they said nor did it. On the other hand the person, who the act is being said or done on, takes it a whole different way, it has another meaning, and it can even be so powerful that it can traumatise a person for the rest of their life.
I would like to talk about one Specific story that till today heart me very deeply. A couple of years ago I was a solider in the IDF; Stationed on the Gaza strip. We would spend seventeen hard long days in the army, and then get to go home for two and a half. Most of the time we went out on patrols for Sixteen hours and then gut to rest on bass for Sixteen more; then went back out, we called it ” Sixteen, Sixteen”. The Sixteen hour period that you are resting is never really resting, because there is always stuff to do: eat, clean, hear about what happen when you were gone, go on a platoon run, Talk to your friends and family plus more. But that’s not all, the first eight hours of your rest you need to be on standby. This means staying on full army uniform and shows, with your vest nearby and if there is something that happens we need to jump out to it. So you see you’re not really resting. You are only starting to understand now how days never end in the army, and why soldiers are so tired all the time.
One day coming off my patrol I was asked by my 2nd Lieutenant to stay on for longer, because the 1st Lieutenant that was meant to switch me had some errands to run. I was an officer at the time, only me and the 1st Lieutenant were the ones who could run and take charge of the patrol (we switched off between us), so I had no choice but to stay on with the 1st Lieutenant platoon while my soldiers went to “sleep”. I was told by the 2nd Lieutenant that I would stay on three hours at most I rolled my eyes ‘sure’ I told myself. Eight hours later I was still on and could not get off for reasons that I can’t legally say here. Ten hours had passed and I was finally switched, did I get my rest? Nop. Six hours later I was on the next patrol with my platoon this time.
But our story has just begun, patrol consists of three heavily armed army vehicles, what each one has inside or outside and does I cannot discuss. During the patrol it must have been a couple of hours in, I get a call on the radio it was the 2nd Lieutenant I was asked to meet up somewhere for something. We meet up with him and I am asked to stay put while the lieutenant takes two of my vehicles with him, to “check something somewhere” (wink) me and the men with me in the car sat there for a good two hours not knowing where they went off to and with orders not to move. Now take Exhausted and weary soldiers (not to mention me already on lack of sleep from the last patrol), and tell them not to move sitting down, what do you think happen? That’s right. The next thing I remembered was someone knocking on my door window, and you guessed it, the 2nd Lieutenant. We had been sitting there for two hours and we had all fallen asleep, right off the Gaza border. We did not answer the radio for some time and they came “looking” for us.
For those of you who know how the army works, to sleep on patrol while on the Gaza strip border and to be the officer on the patrol adds up to a lot of negatives, it’s a bad mix. Me and my soldiers were called to a military Sentence the next day, I took the blame completely. I was not going to blame my soldiers for something I had full responsibility for, I was also hoping saying the truth would reduce my punishment. I was the officer on the patrol and I know what I did wrong, so whatever it was going to be I was ready to except. I was sentenced to 50 days in the army, could have been worse. I don’t know how other army’s work in the world, but in the IDF when you get to go out once every two to three weeks, 50 days was a lot (not mentioning all the things I had to do throw out all those days, and the days I have already been in).
After my 63 long hard days where finally up, came the day to go home. Now on weekends and Sundays bus stations are overrun by people and mostly soldiers, rushing to where ever need be. It’s a war zone not like the one you see in the army. This is a whole new ballgame; you should know what I’m talking about. You’re not an Israeli if you do not go throw this act at least once or twice if not more in your life time. Old people, young people, soldiers, students no matter who you are, you will kill to get on that bus. The bus comes every half an hour and is limited with their seats witch is one of the cusses to the problem, there are always more people then they can take on the ground. But they have this rule up to 10 people standing, and with a lot of pushing and shoving (I’m talking literally, it was not easy) I was one of the people who got on.
Now here is where I get to the slips that till today still hurts me, and the idea behind my long army story. I’m standing there can’t really move much, there’s someone behind me and in front of me, so even sitting on the floor was out of the question. About five minutes in to the ride the women sitting to the right of me says under her breath “what a smell” now, the air conditioning on the bus was not working, and I fought like hell to get on, plus a military uniform is not known to be breathable so I was sweating but I didn’t think about it too much. The drive goes on and she slips herself another one “what there are no showers in the army?” being the ‘adult’ here I still kept silent. Someone opened the windows because we really could not breathe on the bus (not because of me), so thanks to him there was no more smell. A couple of minutes later the women lets out another line “Can’t believe I have to ride home like this, this is a Disgrace” she gets a look from me but still no word. At some point she looks up at me and says: “Excuse me, sir could you move somewhere else, you’re in my private space”. I was shocked; I didn’t know what to say to her. The smell was gone there was no excuse; she just didn’t want me near her. Was she not on the same bus as me? Could she not see what was going on? Or the fact that there was no were to go? Before I had the chance to answer her, the man sitting by her side said: “where would you like him exactly to go?” she rolled her eyes at him and said: “I don’t care just not near me”. The man answered her: “if you wanted space you should have paid for a cab” she shoots right back at him: “I paid for a seat here did I not, I deserve to have my own space, and he is in it!” the were some faces exchanged and the fight ended.
The few seconds they talked I just stood there saying to myself, for this I suffered in the army 63 days? These are the type of people I protect? She couldn’t ‘suffer’ the forty minute drive quietly without saying anything? She has no idea what I have been throw, what stage mentality I’m in right now, and this is the first thing I have to hair getting out? That little conversation till today sticks with me. When I think of my service in the army that is one of the stories I remember, sadly on a bad note. There’s a reason we remember some things and forget others, the things that have an effect on our lives (the good and the bad) stay with us and the things that don’t get forgotten or put aside somewhere in our minds.
Today I’m not asking for a presidential welcoming every time a solider leaves or goes back to the base. I’m not asking people to like people or hate people, I’m not asking you to do anything (you do it anyway). The point of my story is to bring light the subject of judgement. To show you how something so Innocent in someone’s eyes can be taken to a totally different direction in another’s. We never know what’s going on in a person’s head; you don’t know where he comes from and what he went throw or is going throw. If we can try to keep are judgement and are comments to are self’s, try to know the person before we say stuff about them (And I say try because I know it’s hard I judge to) are world would be a much happier place with happier people today, and I say this as a fact. We must try and give people the benefit of the doubt and a chance, before we run ahead to conclusions.
And just a tip for life, it would not hurt to be nice once in a while, to someone you don’t know in the street. It doesn’t take that much of an effort on your part. It May seem stupid to you, or weird and silly. Sometimes even just not doing anything, is the right response. To you it is so simple but it would mean the world to them. When we can truly accomplish this maybe then, people like me would not look back at their three years’ experience, and remember that one moment that didn’t need to end that way, and could have taken a different turn in my life.