Vinson: Making a split decision

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Everyone copes with a variety of stressors and is on edge-to some degree, at least. That said, I imagine most will agree the times in which we currently live are finicky and panicky, to the extent of sometimes being downright dangerous.

Hardly a day goes by without the media reporting that, somewhere, someone "went off" on someone else for any one of several reasons: road rage, cutting line at Wal-Mart to buy the newest version of some iphone, referee making a bad call for the opposing soccer team, saying "hello" to the wrong person at the right time, etc.

Thus, it is necessary to pose the following question: When confronted with a potentially bad situation, and merely a "split-second" to make a decision, when does one step forward and be assertive versus backing off and letting the matter go?

Follow along as I reveal to you an "incident" that, hopefully, sheds some light on making split-second decisions:
It was Monday, November 4, 2013. Daylight Savings Time had gone into effect the day prior, Sunday, November 3. Nighttime had arrived around 6 p.m.

Off the much-traveled main drag of a small town, a man, alone in his small station wagon, hit his blinker and turned left into the parking lot of a popular grocery outlet. Just as he entered the parking lot at a slow speed, he was met head-on by a minivan with two passengers, the combination of darkness and headlights-in-each-other's face forcing both vehicles to immediately stop.

Regarding traffic-land, air, or water-a common law is when two vehicles/boats/aircrafts/boats unexpectedly meet head-on, each one immediately veers to the right to avoid collision.

For whatever reason, both the station wagon and the minivan pulled to the left . . . causing both to come to a stop yet again! Indeed, it was awkward and confusing, comparable to two cars meeting each other on a two-lane highway, with each one traveling down the wrong lane!

To get past the parking lot impasse-if you will-the man in the station wagon gave it a little gas and moved forward.

is plan was simple: He was going to pull out of the parking lot's second exit/entrance onto the main drag and re-enter, a second time, via the exit/entrance he'd originally entered, a "horseshoe" maneuver, I suppose. (Just envision two exits/entrances to the same parking lot about 75 feet apart, parallel to each other, separated by parking spaces.)

As the man in the station wagon waited for traffic to clear up on the main drag, he noticed the minivan had gone to the trouble of turning around and was heading in his direction. Uh-oh, the man thought to himself. Should he stay put? Or should he just pull onto the main drag and get out of there? He didn't have all day; he had to make a split-second decision!

Figuring it best to keep matters in the relative still of the parking lot instead of taking it to the momentum of the main drag and involving other vehicles and civilians, he put it in reverse, then Drive, and pulled alongside the minivan, his driver's side matching up correctly, traffic-wise, with the minivan's driver side. The minivan held two male passengers.

The minivan's driver's side window commenced rolling down.

Braced for a less-than-pleasant verbal exchange, and, possibly, worse, the man in the station wagon heard a pleasant voice say, "I thought that was you, Mike . . ."

Come to find out, the minivan's driver was/is a good friend, and I had failed to recognize him, initially, while he, in fact, had recognized me right off.

Though it turned out well, I have a question: Did I do the right thing by backing up and pulling alongside the minivan? Or should I have fled the scene to avoid what could've been a disastrous confrontation?

Remember: I didn't have all day; I had only a split-second!

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Mike Vinson
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