Trust: A matter of inches - Greg Gelpi

Whizzing through the serpentine streets of the big city of Atlanta, it flashed before my eyes.

Hugging the pavement of the broad bends of the narrow thoroughfares, cars darted towards me at blazing speeds or at least blazing speeds compared to my car.

A matter of mere inches separated life and death.

Such trust and blind faith in complete strangers. Cars zoom past me without even the bat of an eye, a normal occurrence hardly worth a passing thought.

Cars wind around the curves arching towards me, only to continue on their circular route just inside their half of the asphalt lanes.

Sitting impatiently at a traffic light earlier this week, horns honked and single fingers waved at me. Obliviously, I stared through the passenger-side window unaware that the horns and fingers were directed toward me.

My gaze lay fixated on a man with a makeshift cardboard sign asking for a little money.

Clandestinely using my elbow to discretely nudge the lock on my door, I secure myself in my own little world.

The man is most assuredly going to rip the car door open and pounce on me, or so my mind must think.

Normally attentive to the traffic light anxiously waiting to hit the gas, my mind is locked on the man and the most certain doom awaiting me.

Knowing the countless people who share the roads with me about as well as this guy, I never hesitate to hop in my car and nonchalantly drive to my destination.

And yet those cars, the thousands of pounds of metal hurdling toward me, fire past me with barely a notice.

Always looking at someone's angle or motive of those I know well and associate with frequently, somehow that is OK.

If I had the same level of skepticism for the roads, I would barricade myself into my apartment and only peep my head to remind myself of the dangers that exist.

Trust is an interesting thing.

It's a conscious choice. Do we trust the stranger on the street? Not if we see him face to face, but we do if they continue on by and quickly fade into our peripheral vision.

Greg Gelpi covers education for the News Daily. He can be reached at ggelpi@news-daily.com or (770) 478-5753 Ext. 247.