Bias

This past week I was interviewing a candidate for a position with the Sheriff’s Department here in Beltrami County. The protocol I follow includes a series of questions that gets at the candidate’s attitudes and values regarding law enforcement. One of the questions goes like this, “We all have biases. Name two biases you have and how do you manage them?” I usually use an example of a bias I have and how I try to manage it as a follow-up to illustrate the point.

I hate slow drivers. First there’s muttering. “Aw for Christ’s sake,” as I come up behind them. If they don’t pick up speed then it escalates. “C’mon grandpa (grandma), kick er down will ya?” Never mind that I’m a grandpa. I try not to tailgate. I really don’t want to end up in their trunk.

Depending on the time of day, the situation gets particularly aggravating. Never, never, drive down Irvine Avenue toward the post office between nine and ten am during the week. The average speed during this period is twenty. A light dusting of snow makes it worse. Then it drops to fifteen.

On “Old 71” past “Slim’s” the speed is supposed to be 55. I drive 64. If you’re following a white Cadillac with Arizona plates that’s straddling the fog line and you swear there’s a tan elf driving it, rest assured you will never see the speed limit. It’s time to take things into your own hands.

Last year in the interest of getting better gas mileage in our pickup I installed a cold air intake system. Most vehicle air intake systems move air down a tortuous pathway to the engine. The theory behind the cold intake system is to modify that path and shove more air more quickly into the engine. Cold air is also denser than warm air and should increase fuel efficiency and horsepower.

Better gas mileage is still an open question but horsepower and the “hell hound” sound of all 4.7 liters when you nail the accelerator leaves no doubt about your intentions. “Lookout grandma I’m coming by!” It’s scary, unleashing all that energy. I am sure any recipient of the sound, just shakes their head in disgust, fear, or both, probably muttering, “What’s the big rush?” Which lead to the management part of bias.

I am gonna be there some day, but I hope I will not be on the fog line. Does it matter if I get home one minute later? Ah rationality! But then there’s the sound of the hellhound!!

Author: Doug Lewandowski

I have walked a varied path. I was a Christian Brother, an English teacher/counselor and Licensed Psychologist. I have a twice monthly column in the Duluth News Tribune and have had a story published in the Nemadji Review and placed third in this year’s Jade Ring contest of the Wisconsin Writer’s Association. I was a commentator for KCRB, Minnesota Public Radio in the 90s. I transplanted to Duluth to be closer to grandchildren.

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