I've been thinking a lot this week about impressions. There are those we give by mistake, those we erroneously form, and a few that are correct.
A few weeks ago, the wind caught my door as I got out of my car and banged it into the protective strip on the door of the car next to me. There was no actual damage, just a little dirt, which I managed to wipe off. The irate occupant of the vehicle in question leaped out, and accused me of deliberately trying to damage her door.
I explained what happened, then demonstrated where the door had hit and showed her there was no damage. She was still very upset, so I offered to exchange insurance information. She declined, so I apologized again and started towards the store.
After entering, I felt impressed to turn around, and I saw her taking pictures of my license plate! Afraid she would accuse me of hit & run, or other damage to her car (there were other previous door dings), I went back outside, and again offered my insurance information. She declined again, so I called the police.
I'm sure the officer thought I was a nut ball, but I wanted him to witness that there was no damage and that I was trying to do the right thing. I just felt that I needed protection from whatever revenge this crazy lady was plotting.
Nothing happened as a result, but what I think upset me most was her characterization of me as someone who deliberately goes around damaging the property of others. It seemed that nothing I did could correct this impression.
Mom was right. First impressions are the most lasting.