Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Things are not as they seem.

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.

Happy Tuesday,

Jan

7 comments:

andy said...

i am the queen of assumption A LOT of the time!

thanks for the perverbial slap across the face:)

and the susan boyle incident was awesome...love watching that clip.

love and kindness:)

andy

Kristina P. said...

I think that these were natural assumptions, and it's better to offer help and be turned down, than not!

PetalsYoga said...

Thanks Andy and Kristina! Love you gals! I consider myself to be part of your posse by the way! ;-)

I am Meggie Poo. said...

That's a great reminder to not judge or assume. However I love that you thought to help someone out that may be struggling, so I don't think you did anything wrong. Lately I've encountered many people lately who helped me out with a smile and wanted nothing in return. I like this trend!

Anonymous said...

You did the right thing. My biggest "assumption", and I hate myself for doing it, is when I see people parking up in the disabled spaces and running into the supermarket at which point I just want to yell at them for being lazy oiks taking the prime spaces away from people who really need them ..... luckily I don't shout because at that point I see them emerge with shopping and a rather frail looking octogenarian who they take back to their car!!!
I also remember one of the first people who came to our rescue when we were rather lost walking around Beaverton was a rather scary looking (fright-wig and makeup!), tattoo-ed, multiple-pierced and large young man who turned out to be really friendly and funny and helped us locate the MAX station so we could get back home!!
With much love, Angela xxx

buffalodick said...

Nicely said, nicely done! Happiness is relative..sometimes people with far less have better values than people that "have it all".... Good parable, we all should read!

Heather said...

First of all thanks for stopping by my blog and I am wishing you an early happy and great birthday.

It is through my kids eyes that I have realized what we do to society. My kids don't see color/class/rich or poor, they just see people and I LOVE that and wish we could all just see people.