This post an addition to the previous one, concerning the notion of truth sometimes being more in the middle than on either side of an argument.
If you have somehow missed Rashomon in your movie viewing , you should try to catch it. It's in Japanese with subtitles for English speakers, but a great study in subjectivity.
Another case in point. A few years back, a bus passed a bicyclist on one of Portland's bridges over the Willamette River downtown. (The Hawthorne, for those of you who are local.)
The cyclist's version (his name is Randy) is that yes, he was not in the narrow bike lane, because the lane was littered with gravel and the city had not, after repeated reports, cleaned it out, thus he had no choice. And that the bus driver almost hit him as he blew past, missing by only a foot.
Angry because he was nearly run over, Randy slammed his fist against the side of the bus as it went by, and because the driver paid him no heed, he stood on the pedals and put his bike into a sprint, managed to catch the bus when it slowed, and pass it, whereupon he pulled in front of it, stopped his bike and got off, thus blocking the road.
The bus screeched to a stop.
I don't recall if the driver honked the horn, but I wouldn't be surprised if he did.
The biker stood there, glaring at the driver, cursing like a ship full of sailors, wanting him to acknowledge his fault, and to make a point. The other lane moved, but the bus couldn't.
I'm not sure what would have satisfied Randy, but he apparently showed no sign of moving out of the road.
Cyclists in Portland, considered a good town to bike in, sometimes get militant when they think their rights aren't properly respected. I understand the feeling, having ridden a bike for a time as primary transportation. It's dangerous out there. Still ...
The bus was full, SRO, and the passengers, wanting to get to work or home, quickly became irritated. After a bit, one of the passengers asked the driver to open the door. He may or may not have said, "Let me take care of this." His nickname was "Gator," and he was an ex-boxer.
There was a videocam going, but no sound.
Gator approached the biker, and here the story veers. Gator's version is that he told the guy to get out of the road, the biker cursed him and refused, so Gator popped him one, wrestled him down and out of the road, along with the bike, then climbed back onto the bus, which then went on its way.
Randy's version is that Gator charged him and began throwing punches without a word.
Pretty good hit, from the images, and Randy needed to get his lip stitched as a result.
Naturally, Randy sued TriMet.
Eventually, an arbitrator found that both sides were negligent. The cyclist shouldn't have blocked traffic. The driver shouldn't have let the passenger off the bus, especially if he suspected what Gator was going to do.
But you got an idea that the arbitrator didn't really feel that the weight of negligence fell too heavily upon TriMet, since the forty-eight grand Randy sued for was reduced to an award of $601.
Bicyclists were outraged and their sympathies lay with Randy, even though they tended to think he had maybe stepped over the line, just a hair.
Bus passengers seemed to feel like I did when I first read about it, which boiled down to, "Served him right." I mean, yes, certainly Gator shouldn't have assaulted Randy, just because he was standing in the road blocking traffic and making everybody on the bus late for work. On the other hand, I understand Gator's impulse, too. Randy might ordinarily be a swell fellow, but in that instance, he was not behaving as one ...