Another gloomy, muggy day here in North Florida. It's like it wants to rain so bad that it's put on its rain suit but nothing is happening. Just a constant dense, thick, low, gray cloud cover and everything feels wet, as if maybe it was really raining but we just can't see it. I'm not complaining. I mean- it's not burning up hot and we're not having a deadly freeze but it's just a bit like we're the audience and the rain is backstage and we're all waiting for the curtain to go up and the rain to come down.
Maybe it hasn't finished putting on its make-up.
Whatever, I went to town today and ran hither and thither, delivering the calendars that I had bought for May and for Hank and Rachel and forgotten to give them as well as eggs and also some books for May. One was hers that I returned, and some are ones that I am lending her. I also bought myself a pair of earrings that I wanted, picked up a prescription, and went to Publix where I bought steaks and other things including an iron skillet.
It's sort of crazy how that works.
Back to square one with the judging.
And THEN, I saw her from the back on another aisle and she had a tattoo of an infant on her bare shoulder with some sort of writing that I could not really see and I wondered if she'd lost a baby and my heart sort of broke and I forgave her for being maskless because if I lost a baby I wouldn't care if I got covid or not. I probably wouldn't care if I spread covid or not.
I had another experience today that sort of cemented the whole thing in my head though and it involved a woman I saw in the jewelry store who had come to pick up a bracelet which had been repaired. I made up an entire story in my mind about her. I figured she was probably a nice granny like me and was getting some sort of family heirloom repaired and spent her days making cookies for the grandchildren. She was a Black woman about my age and I ended up getting behind her in traffic and my route caused me to follow her (god- I hope she didn't think I was tailing her) to where she turned off to where she lives, maybe, in an upscale housing development. She drove a BMW convertible and the place where I assume (once again) that she lives, was in a place called Weems Plantation.
Every time I pass that place I think, "Jesus, how fucking racist is that?"
She was so cool in that convertible and she drove like a bat out of hell and I wished I could have told her how much I liked her style. In fact, she was so cool that she could totally live in a place with the word "plantation" in it and carry it off like a boss. Like THE boss of the damn plantation.
And I was thinking - plantations aren't/weren't all places that enslaved people. and then I thought, what the hell am I thinking, a place with Plantation in the name in the south! Of course the implication is the lifestyle made possible by slavery! She is the BOSS.ReplyDelete
Sounds like that lady's reclaiming the name! Yay her. I don't know if you're judgy or just a born storyteller, with ten possible narratives triggered by a single sight.ReplyDelete
Do true that we learn such a lot from our kids.
Yes, we certainly do learn a lot from our kids.Delete
And I thought of that too- that I just like to make up stories. But sometimes, they can be judgey stories!
Yes, a story teller, that is you . Marvelous stories. You are invited to my camp fire anytime!ReplyDelete
I hope to be buried with my cast iron skillets from the 1920's , they are the best- as well as my cast iron wok, rare and perfect. I love them and they love me.
Cast iron is hard to beat when it comes to cooking or, I suppose, when it comes to giving someone a concussion if they deserve it.Delete
How I loved my cast iron. It's all on the shelf for Laura now.ReplyDelete
And she will appreciate, love, and use it.Delete
That last story is a doozy. It made me laugh. I make snap judgements and create wild stories about nearly everyone I see, too. I know even less shit than you know.ReplyDelete
You do NOT know less shit than I know! We should have a I-don't-know-shit contest.Delete
These are strange times that we live in, and I have found myself a more than a little uncomfortable with my willingness to judge folks. In a hot second, my mind jumps to a zillion conclusions. Not wearing a mask? I know your vaccination status, and I resent your willful ignorance. Flying a Trump flag? I see you in all your racist glory. Wearing a MAGA hat? I know how you feel about CRT, Anthony Facui, the insurrection on Jan. 6 and a million other things. Rare is the day, that I can stop myself from writing these scenarios in my head faster that I can type them here. I need to work on it, but, golly, it's going to be hard. We've turned our country into something we barely recognize. I know I'm responsible for it just as I lay blame at the feet of those on the "other" side. It's hard to find the commonalities when the stakes feel so high. And I think therein lies a lot of the trouble with the current state of affairs: our differences seem so much bigger than our common humanity. Nevertheless, I still believe the vast majority of people are kind and decent. But the uncivil and the loud and the mean get all the attention. Sigh.ReplyDelete
I really could not have said all of that better myself and I agree with you 100%.Delete
I think most of us make assumptions about people based on their appearance initially. I remember being on a Solos trip to Turkey and there was one older widowed lady who just didn't seem very friendly. I always said good morning to her and was polite but she wasn't someone I would choose to sit next to. That being said, on the plane back we ended up sitting next to each other and I realized she was just very reserved and had an "unfortunate sour resting face". We had a blast and it made me rethink (hopefully) before judging people on appearances!ReplyDelete
I've had similar experiences myself. It's sad when we do that- think of the time lost with someone we really end up liking.Delete
I forgot to mention that I instantly wanted that cast iron pan! Never saw a piece I didn't like.ReplyDelete
Same here, lady!Delete
Not masking, flying a T flag and wearing a M@g@ hat are such striking triggers for judgement these days. Instant hackle riser for some of us.ReplyDelete
My DH's (always raging) boss, who fits all those categories above, just got the virus. Not that he is telling anyone in the small company that he owns--but the grapevine knows. Not vaxxed, even though he is a diabetic and a transplant recipient. Can't fix stupid.
Oh Lord. Well, I guess he'll either sail through the illness with mild symptoms and be fine and say, "See?" or he'll suffer horribly and wish he'd gotten vaccinated.Delete
I think we all do that -- tell ourselves stories about people we see. It's useful to be reminded that they're only our stories. So thanks for that!ReplyDelete
That looks like a nice pan. I like the way they emphasize keeping it in the family and out of the landfill.
And I suppose it's harmless to make up these stories but honestly, we have no idea, do we?Delete
I loved that line too, Steve.
It *is* quite challenging to observe without judging. As everyone else has said.....we all tend to do it, but being aware that our *created* scenario's may be WAY off........it is good to remind ourselves to perhaps be a bit more gentle with judgements. I love what you said about learning from your children, and your grands too. It is not a one way street....... also a good thing to remember!ReplyDelete
We do all do it, I'm sure, and I'm also sure that often are initial gut reactions can be pretty accurate. A survival thing, I suppose, that we've developed. But not always!Delete
My grandmother had resting bitch face and I only ever met her twice in my life, when she was in her seventies. I thought she was kind of a scary old lady. I found out from my cousins that my grandmother had a wonderful sense of humor, despite the scary face. I seem to have inherited her resting bitch face sadly.ReplyDelete
I tend to judge people, don't we all? I'm sometimes wrong and sometimes right. I saw an older guy walking into the grocery store yesterday with a fur coat on and thought, what a dick? Then he cut me off at the check out and I realized I was right.
I think I have resting ugly face.Delete
I do like your second paragraph- sometimes we are simply correct in our initial assessment.
I laughed out loud reading the full blown stories evoked by that woman in the scarf with no mask. You are a born storyteller, story giver, and your empathy is as quick as your imagination, which tried its best to give that maskless woman some grace. As for the Black lady living in Plantation, sounds like she is the boss of herself and can live where she darn well pleases. I love your stories. The world is so alive for you.ReplyDelete