By Alyssa Velazquez
There was once an ancient Greek fable centered on the relationship between a hound and a hare. A hound, having started at a hare on the hillside, pursued her for some distance. At one time he bit her with his teeth as if he would take her life, and at another fawning upon her, as if in play with another hound.
The hare said to him, “I wish you would act sincerely by me, and show yourself in your true colors. If you are a friend, why do you bite me so hard? If an enemy, why do you fawn on me?”
Besides the obvious message of never leave a hound alone to its own devices when a hare is around, the underlying implication to the hare’s strife is that she could not discern whether to trust or not to trust the hound.
After all the biting and playing, staring and pursuing, both species parted ways as neither friend nor foe. No form of relationship into one of the greatest debates of mankind: should trust be given on faith, or is it earned?
If you had asked me this question in passing prior to this weekend I would have answered that it is earned. It’s funny how two days can make such a difference in an individual’s principles.
On Saturday I woke up at seven in the morning after having gone to bed just past the 1 a.m. marker. I was tired and grumpy, and I still had a fieldwork project in Vienna, Maryland that needed to get done.
So I did what any over-achieving college student would do. I pulled myself out of bed and took myself to the nearest coffee shop for a jolt of caffeine. Once I was in my excessively hippie-accessorized Jeep, I popped in the greatest hits of Billy Joel and set my sights on Vienna.
After only half an hour, I began to realize my vision was worse than I thought. Not only could I no longer “see” Vienna, I did not see myself getting to Vienna.
Looking at my printed-out Google map, complete with turn-by-turn directions, I began to second-guess its validity. Nowhere was I seeing a Brown Street or Maple Avenue, and this would result in the first of many stops I would make along a cornfield that day.
After having stashed away my “faulty” map and pulled out my GPS, I noticed my gas tank.. I was in no mood to be a positivist. My tank was not half-full; it was in fact, half-empty. I began to think, would I have enough gas for a two-hour drive? My car is, after all, from the 90s, and I didn’t fully trust its ability in its current state to get me all the way to Vienna.
So for the second time that day, I stopped. After hawking over what was left of my checking account into the oil industry, I hit the road running.
Gunning the speed near 70 miles an hour produces a severe case of automobile tourettes. Having had to put my car in the shop numerous times this summer for mechanical going to end up being stranded after all, despite the gas in my tank? So, for the third time that day, I stopped. I was sick of stopping and, worse than that, I had drunk all my coffee.
As soon as my car came to a halt in front of yet another cornfield I knew that I was the problem, not my car. I was the one not willing to trust the directions, my car, or myself.
How could the directions have earned my trust if I hadn’t given them a chance? How could I have found out if my half tank of gas would have been enough to get me to Vienna if I filled it, and how could the hound have discovered if the hare could be a potential friend if he kept on biting her?
I realize all these relationships I have mentioned are either symbiotic animal relations or relationships between cars and their owners.
Nevertheless, the same goes for monogamous human relationships.
If you are a supporter for the “earned” trust, then when is a worth only be based on a hidden opposite sex point system? Realistically, however, how can an individual, man or woman, be deemed trustworthy during any relationship when the only way a person can be trustworthy is to trust him or her to begin with?
After my past Saturday excursion, I decided to take a closer look at the word trust and I found that right in between the “r” and the “t” is the word “us.” I stared incredulously at the new found pronoun and was hit with the thought that if “us” has to be linguistically present to spell trust, then perhaps trust has to be faithfully present in the middle of any coupling, any “us.”
I’m not saying it is easy to trust someone on blind faith–far from it. Still, while trusting may be hard for you, not trusting will make any relationship hard for anybody involved. Perhaps the hare would have accepted the hound into a relationship if both of them had only taken a closer look, as I did, at their dictionaries.