when we live inside the worlds of our own making…
I am rocked by the thought of all the opportunities I have missed or muddled, simply because I thought I knew what was what. Earlier today, the godess of irony decided to smack me around a bit, and presented a life lesson that I thought I already knew: when it comes to people, I really should not assume that I know what is what … or much of anything.
This past week, I took the opportunity elsewhere to rant about racism and bigotry. Bigotry is the height of stupidity, of course, and I rail against it whenever the opportunity presents itself (up close and personal, when necessary). However, at the root of that trait which I so despise, there lies “assumption.” Stereotyping is only possible if you allow yourself to make assumptions about other people. I could weep when I think about how many times a day I surely do that very thing without even realizing it.
So, today, I went to the farm stand where I like to buy my plants and fresh produce. The older gentleman who is usually running the cash register was there. We’ve had a couple of dozen encounters over the course of several planting and growing seasons. We usually follow the same script. He talks with what I call a “Lincoln County accent.” He calls me “young lady,” tells me about the plants I’ve picked out, compliments me on my choices. I smile and “aw shucks” with him for a spell. Once, he asked me, as I had my head bowed over the check I was writing, “Who put dem stripes in yore hair?’ I looked up, met his twinkling eyes and answered, “Would you believe me if I said the good Lord?” He immediately answered, with a smile, “Yes ma’am.” I always thought the man was clever, and funny, but I never thought about who he is, much beyond what was revealed by our surface banter. Today, the script started out the same way, but one comment knocked one of my little worlds out of orbit: He told me I looked like … Continue reading “What we miss …”