My "aha" moment yesterday came outside of Powell's bookstore (which if you aren't familiar, is the BEST bookstore in the whole world, but that's another post.)when I judged a book by it's cover and discovered that I really shouldn't do that near a bookstore or anywhere else. Here's how it went down:
I'm walking towards the store when I pass an older lady on the sidewalk who is dragging a big cart behind her filled with what looks like her tools of life on the streets. I didn't look closely, I just assumed... mistake # 1.
She is nearly toothless, has a giant necklace comprised of hundreds of keys around her neck, and is dressed in a manner that suggests she doesn't frequent stores like Saks or Bloomingdales every day. Probably mistake #2. Actually she was dressed in similar attire to me, but with a few more years of wear on the sweatshirt and sweatpants. I don't frequent stores like that either in case you feel like making some assumptions about me too. Assume away!
I walked past her and thought, "Hmmmm... she looks like she's struggling with that cart. Maybe she could use a hand or a nice meal today, I'll up my karma today by offering to help out." Mistake #3 I did vacillate for a moment because it feels so darn patronizing to offer help to someone who isn't asking, but believe me, you would have paused yourself in this situation. She just seemed to be struggling.
I stopped to wait for her to slowly catch up with me and I asked her (nonchalantly and I hope non-judgmentally) "How are you? Do you need any help with anything today?" She smiled her big toothless grin at me and said, "No thanks, I'm off work today and I collect bottles and cans to recycle for a little extra cash and to clean up our community. Thanks for asking though and Aloha." I thanked her for helping to make our world a better place and slowly entered Powell's knowing that I had just encountered a best-seller wrapped in a brown-paper bag cover. I was humbled and happy that I had taken the time to ask. My life is enriched by realizing again (ala people like this and Susan Boyle) that you just shouldn't judge people or situations at a glance.
That's it for me today. I'm going on an assumption-free holiday for the rest of the week. I'll let you know how it turns out.