I think about potential often. Probably most people do, which is why Scrödinger’s Cat is so fascinating a subject. The idea that until potential is realized, something, anything, everything is two mutually exclusive possibilities. Fascinating subject overall.
In that respect, I think about other Schrödinger’s as well. Other potentials. I think about another famous exercise in potentiality: Schrödinger’s Rapist, a post by Phaedra Starling that anyone reading this blog has probably already read before. If you haven’t, go read it now. I will wait.
I also think about my own personal Schrödinger’s ______. Well maybe not strictly my own, but one that affects everyone who does the same job as me. I established in my last post that I deliver things to people homes. I actually work for a national chain who delivers stuff to people’s homes. I know this business of delivering well. I have done it for years and have colleagues in local business as well as in competing national businesses.
Something we all have in common is Schrödinger’s Customer. None of us call it that. Truthfully, most of us don’t think about it until a collusion of events occurs, mostly because we are pretty numb to the process. Only when a collusion of eventuals appears to be leading us to possible potentials, does the average driver seriously consider, “what if.”
But our national chain considers the potentials. In fact, every competing national chain considers the potentials as well. You might think you are a good customer. You might think there is no reason to fear you. You might even ask me inside to set your delivery on the table, or get out of the rain, or wait for you to get your money.
But you have potential.
You actually have a plethora of potentials, but like Schrodinger’s Cat my company only has (or cares about) two. Will you harm a driver or not harm a driver? It’s no wonder that you see yourself in the camp of not hurting a driver. I see myself the same way.
But you are both. I am both. If the cat teaches us anything, it is that the potentials are both true until the lid is opened. My national company knows this. I am not allowed in any home, hotel room, or condo by company policy, a rule I only break on special circumstances. A rule I shouldn’t break for even those circumstances, and I slightly panic inside every time I do.
But you have asked me in. I refused. I was polite, and you gather your money while I act as a barrier to your escape-artist child or pet. Were you angry that I refused your potential politeness? That I preferred to stand in the snow while you searched for your wallet? No. you might be perplexed in your certainty that you are “the good person who doesn’t harm drivers.” You aren’t angry at me though. Nor are you angry at the company policy that tells me to wait outside. You go about your business as customer, and I go about mine as driver.
We both continue to remain potentials.
Lately I have been thinking about both Schrödinger’s Rapist and Schrödinger’s Customer. I remember back around a certain elevator incident and I first read Schrödinger’s Rapist. I remember the cries of misandry. The shock. The horror that “so-called feminists” were engaged in the assumption of potentiality as it applies to men and whether they could (or might) rape them. I remember the indignation. The special pleading. The backlash.
And then there the fact that few people ever even question my refusal to enter their home. Few people would ever wonder if national chain is engaging in anti-customer hate by having such a policy. That there are no cries of “I’m a good customer.” There is no movement to start delivery companies who walk in your home just to show they really care about their customers.
Despite the fact that the probability of a customer harming a driver is extremely low. Despite the fact that I have never been harmed by a customer. I don’t go into customer homes.
I am confused. Surely I am missing something here. Surely you will tell me how an one exercise in potentiality is more anti-men than the other is anti-customer. Or is it pretty much the same? Aren’t we all just pushing/preventing potentials when we ask for a date or refuse an advance?
When we think about you as a Schrödinger’s Cat/Customer/Rapist, you are all possibilities at once. You are the good person you imagine you are. You are the guy who is trying to get famous starting a new Creepshots Reddit. You are a rapist. You are a someone with a simple question. You will make me laugh.
You are potential. And sometimes, even often, we refuse to open the lid, leaving all those wonderful potentials unrealized on the off chance one might be harmful.
Dismissals of certain potentials may end up being a loss for us. You may have ended up “the best thing ever to enter my life.” Then again, I may have ended up being the “worst thing ever to enter your life” if I accepted your potential. Either way, not opening the lid in this type of situation shouldn’t be considered wrong or right. Overall it is just good business for us to be picky about which lids we open and close.