26 June 2013

Experiential Learners Beware

Today as we were coasting out of the sports centre parking lot after dropping A. at swim class, two kids on touring bikes -- maybe 11 or 12 years old -- cut the corner at the lights and drifted down into oncoming traffic (meaning: our lane).

I can't even say they stared us down in that go-ahead-try-to-hit-me sort of way that jaywalking pre-teens often have. They didn't. They only barely glanced in our direction; really, they were almost totally oblivious that they were gliding directly into the path of a 4,370 lb. accelerating minivan.

We didn't kill them (Daryn, ever the polite driver, hit the brakes) but it did spark a debate between us on the merits of experiential learning. It went like this:

ME: Do you ever think sometimes that there are kids who should be... not killed or anything... but who maybe should be run over by a car every now and then?


ME: Not ever? Like, not dead. I'm not talking about vehicular homicide. I'm just thinking maybe ---

DARYN: No, never.

ME: Never? You wouldn't even just tag one with your bumper? Like, just a little nudge to be all, Hey. Hey kid. Get out of the road.

DARYN: N-E-V-E-R. I don't know why you'd even say something that. You want to run over a kid with your car?

ME: No I don't want to. I just think some of them probably need it, you know?

DARYN: You're seriously suggesting that there are kids in the world who need to be run down like dogs in the street. That's, uh... that's pretty far-fetched, dude. I'm not sure you've given this one enough thought.

ME: I'm just saying, I see a lot of kids who don't think twice about walking or biking or boarding out in front of moving vehicles. They just assume drivers are going to stop for them. Clearly, they're experiential learners. They don't think a car's going to hit them until a car hits them, and then they'll be all, like, Whoa, I should probably be more careful since it's not guaranteed that every car's going to stop for me. Right? We'd be doing them a favour, probably.

DARYN: Um.... OK. But there's a significant difference between learning through experience and sustaining a catastrophic injury.

ME: Is there?


ME: Is there??

DARYN: YES. You don't need to get hurt to learn a life lesson. I definitely don't think you need to get run over by a Honda Odyssey to learn one.

ME: Well, all I know is that people get hurt all the time when we're in relationships, but we keep going back for more. Right? Most of us don't go, Well, that didn't work out and now my feelings are really hurt, so clearly I'm never doing that again. No. We get back on the horse. We learn from being hurt. And then hopefully we do it better the next time, and the next, until we figure our shit out and find a partner we're happy with, and then we force him down the aisle into a lifetime of marital bliss. So I'm just saying: As in love, so too in road safety.

DARYN: I'm not... I don't.....

ME: I think we can safely say I won that one.

DARYN: I think we have different definitions of winning, Charlie Sheen.

* * * * *

On another, much more important note, I'm so thrilled for the giant progressive step our neighbours to the south have struck today with the overturning of DOMA and Prop 8.

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I've always wondered if people who lived through historically significant events knew at the time they were witnessing history in the making; if they understood what they were experiencing in the moment would have lasting impact on their community, their country or the world at large. Sometimes it's difficult to see the forest for the trees, and many events assume significance with the passing of time.

When the Supreme Court of the United States released it's decision today, I had my answer. I am very aware that the outcome of this decision will forever alter the trajectory of human society. I feel privileged to witness this change -- among others moving in the same direction, many in my own country -- and more so to understand it's significance.

Congratulations to everyone (and I do mean everyone): happy people are invested people, are engaged people, are giving to others. Marriage equality benefits everyone.