On Reflection

How losing my house keys may have cured my tendency to be judgmental

Home and heart

You know that saying: “When you hear hooves think horses?” Don’t worry, we’ll come back to it. It does, however, preface a true story, and one that may have cured me of my tendency to be judgmental.

One morning, in a rush, I dashed out the door to the local supermarket with hair uncombed, no make-up and wearing paint splashed jeans. Shopping done, I realised I wouldn’t be able to carry several heavy bags. As I only lived around the corner, I asked the cashier if she’d mind me taking one of the blue wheelie trollies to transport my goodies home. I promised to bring it back the next day.

Some yards from home, I reached into my pocket and pulled out my apartment keys. With the keys, though, came assorted debris. No problem, since there was a public bin coming up I could deposit the unwanted items there.

Which I did.

Except my keys also found their way into the bottom of this large communal trash can.


So, keeping a tight grip on the Tesco trolley, I reach into the bin for my keys. Not being of the tall gene pool, I was shoulder deep in when someone I hadn’t seen for a long time came around the corner and tapped me on the shoulder.

Looking up, I knew in that moment there was nothing I could say to explain away what he thought he could clearly see with his own eyes. A disheveled, middle-aged woman fallen on hard times, rooting through a public bin, wheeling a Tesco trolley through the streets of Norwich.

I would have thought the same thing pre this incident.

In future, though, when I am tempted to make a judgment about someone, I will think back to the saying at the start of this article.

Except, now, if I hear hooves coming around a corner, I won’t assume it’s horses and entertain the notion instead it could be zebras.