Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Say What?

Not too long ago, out of a combination of desperation and laziness, I went to a business near my neighborhood that I don't normally frequent. It was a cute, clean shop. The woman who helped me was friendly and outgoing. While making small talk, the conversation turned to the up coming July 4th holiday. We were exchanging complaints about fireworks being set off in the evenings already when she added "And it's always the gross people too. You know, the ones who can't even afford to pay their rent. How are they spending hundreds of dollars on fireworks?" I sat silently, feeling a bit shocked and thinking "Holy crap, that was not nice". I just couldn't think of an appropriate response. After only a few seconds pause she started chatting again about something totally different, never seeming to notice my lack of response.

I left that business feeling a bit put off, to say the least. I've given the comment a lot of thought and clearly it's still bugging me since I'm writing about it. Maybe I'm overreacting by finding the comment incredibly rude, but this was a woman who had never met me before and didn't know a thing about me. What exactly qualifies someone as a "gross person"? Maybe I'm gross. Why would you ever assume someone is buying fireworks with their rent money? Then all of a sudden, while ruminating on all of this, I had a realization: I'm judging her for judging other people. I'm doing the same dang thing!

I'm a fan of the old saying "Never judge someone til you've walked a mile in their shoes". I've gone through periods in my life where I've made choices that I thought were best at the time, but lost friends who didn't agree with me. I would like to say I don't ever judge people but we all do it. It's almost impossible not to, isn't it? The guy who cut me off in traffic is a selfish jerk. The person who doesn't pick up their dog's poo is lazy. I catch myself doing it all the time and I give myself a mental slap on the wrist. I consider myself to be a kind, accepting person. I understand that not everyone is the same. Even so, it's difficult to not put my expectations onto others: don't talk loudly on your cell phone in public, pick up after your dog, obey traffic laws, say please and thank you. For me, those are simple things we should all do to be respectful of each other and that's the way I act in public. However we all make mistakes and I'm sure there are things I do that other people don't like, even when I think I'm being polite.

I don't think I'll go into that business again. It's my own little way of saying I'd rather not hear people talk about others that way. I believe The Universe is always teaching us and since this experience I've been more mindful of how I look at others and what I think about them. I am thankful for all the people who have forgiven my poor choices and love me any way so I hope I can be in that role for someone else.


  1. I wish I could say I would be shocked to hear someone say that, but I wouldn't. I see judgments being made all the time. People make assumptions based on their own experience, forgetting that everyone has their own path.

    Wonderful post. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Wow...I wish I could say I have never experienced this sort of thing, but sadly, I have :(. And even MORE sadly, I know I have judged people too harshly at times. Funny thing about being all judge-y...it often turns around and bites ya! Not too many years ago I know I made snide remarks {I would LIVE to say I kept them INSIDE my head} about people I would see using public assistance {Food Stamps} and they were not "dressed" the way *I* thought they should be. And they were buying items *I* did not think they should be because these items were not "healthy". Sigh...
    Surprise, surprise...one day, not too many years AFTER that nastiness, my own family hit a hard patch! 9/11 hit our area hard and the little business the hubby started failed...we lost the business, the house, everything :(. We needed assistance and BOY was I humbled. It did not occur to me to wear my "crappy" clothes on shopping day in order for people to *see* I really was in need. And the amount of money they gave us each month was TWICE what we would EVER pay for our food, we even sent some to a local food bank and even ended up buying several types items we would not normally buy because apparently, the government frowns if you have funds left over 0_0...why is our nation in the mess it's in??? Oops...sorry that is another thread :).
    We have since been blessed with financial stability, but that year we needed help was an eye opener...and an incredibly LARGE piece of humble pie that served as reminder of that 11th commandment:
    11. Thou shalt not be all judgey
    GREAT post...I think I would avoid that store myself!