Not Like Me

Not Lilke Me      It’s been a weird week.  It’s been way too long since I last carved out some time to write.  But alas, my head is about to explode as I’ve absorbed visually and auditorily more than I can take without regurgitating some of it back up in the form of writing.

I find most writers write because they are compelled to because well, frankly, life is just so darned interesting!   I’m talking about people who are not like me.  While most people just slough off and quickly forget all the unusual people they pass by, writers turn these strangers instantaneously into writing fodder for potential fictitious characters who quickly take up residence in the dark crevices of a writer’s mind.

For example, and I swear all of this is true—mostly.  These are just some of the examples of human diversity I encountered this week:

While waiting in the lobby earlier this week for an appointment, I couldn’t help but notice the lesbians-in-love couple who were holding hands and kind of cuddling up to one another.  Please take note, I am not passing judgment here, I am simply reporting, however accurately, what I observed.  These were two women clearly affectionately touching one another.  No harm, no foul.    In a diverse culture, this is common and really most people don’t give it a second thought.

But what really stood out was one of the women was significantly overweight and had a purplish blue hair color.  The other was about twenty years younger and was fairly thin with a neon pink color in her hair that would make the musician Pink a tad envious.  If there is a pure form of pink, this chick nailed it.    At first I thought I was witnessing a mother-daughter reunion, but as the affection intensified, I could see I was witnessing end stage romantic love.  It doesn’t stay like this I tried to telepathically communicate.   Clearly their minds weren’t open to this revelation.   I just smiled at the happy couple who never even saw me.  Then I turned away.

Later that afternoon I encountered a bubbly medical sales rep talking to a co-worker who I assume was also a medical sales rep in the elevator we happened to share.  She was talking and smiling with ultra white teeth and speaking very rapidly about the latest technology in MRI imaging and which doctors they could count on for sure in an upcoming presentation, when all of a sudden the elevator lurched and she said, “Well, great!  This will be the perfect ending to my crappy day!”  She directed this comment at me as if suddenly she just now noticied I too was on board the elevator with her and her associate.  She didn’t know what I already knew.  This particular elevator always lurches on the fifth floor.  It’s just the way it’s wired.  I smiled softly and said, “Well, have a good day” as I reached the roof of the parking deck where my car was parked.  I never park on any floor lower than the roof, because I suffer from fear-of-roof-collapse-a-phobia and I hate having to walk under many layers of concrete and automobiles above me.  But I digress.

The week continued with work, errands, and family life as it always does at a break neck speed and yet mundane moments that somehow seemed like they may be significant later.  I tried to keep the RECORD button on in my brain whenever I noticed anything unusual.

Take for example tonight:  I had just finished a delightful workout at my gym.  I say delightful because I practically had the place to myself since it was a Friday night and everyone under age 40 probably has a plan as to how to spend a Friday night.  Not me.  I had a vigorous date with the treadmill while listening to my favorite music, while simultaneously watching in close-caption the amazing video footage of how a meteor-not-an-asteroid (the news media kept repeating this as if it were very important to clarify) slammed into the mountains of Russia and injured about a thousand people and shattered the windows of many buildings.

I found my LizLogic mind was suddenly inspired to immediately change my current brunette hair back to blonde again.  I don’t know why.    It’s as if the meteor reminded me that if the other upcoming asteroid due to narrowly miss Earth this weekend should miss it’s mark (that is space) and instead impact our entire planet, perhaps I should go out blonde.  Clearly I wasn’t reaching my target heart rate, or I wouldn’t have room in my brain to think these things.

So as soon as my work out ended, I sprinted merrily to my car because I was now on a mission.  It was time to go buy a box of blonde again.  And that’s when the trifecta of weird this week happened.   I arrived at Wal-Mart.  I continued to see entire herds of people not like me.

       The most notable was a gentleman who looked like the exact twin of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  He was just sitting at the driver’s seat in a beat up green micro pickup truck beside me, whose carbon emissions would surely make Al Gore proud.    In his back windshield, he had a confederate flag embedded in the glass with a black bumper sticker with a giant jagged five-fronded leaf that boldly proclaimed LEGALIZE THIS!   He stared at me with stalker like eyes as I got in my car!  Huh, I thought….probably not the President of Iran then.  Still, he really was the spitting image.  And I thought, you know, both these guys really do look like a little bit like they are a monkey man.

      But who am I to judge?  After all, what do people see when they see me?  An upper 40ish woman with dollar store reading glasses, hair pulled back into a messy bun, dark blue sweat pants with lint and cat hair on them with a bright pink v-cut t-shirt, a black velour pull up jacket, and a very generic oversized black purse (No Louis Vutton or Coach bag for this mom) getting ready to step into her beige Buick!      It’s like seeing Jane Eyre on steroids.  Plain, practical, and pragmatic oozes out of my pores sometimes!  Or perhaps it’s a combo of lazy and frump; anyhow it suits me.

Who knows what others see when they see me?  What stories do they invent to go along with my visual?   Poor old Buick lady, I bet her husband beats her.  (Not to worry, he doesn’t!)  or maybe they think,  Didn’t I see her last week at that slam poetry session?     Or perhaps they think, Oh great, is that the dingbat who messed up my registration at DMV (nope, not me) or maybe they just pass on by and never wonder at all, which is most likely the case, and that’s okay too.

We all walk around all our days and we have these amazing stories that are concealed just below the surface, and yet we pass each other by hundreds of times a day totally unaware of one another.  We are all forgotten faces in a sea of faces, save the occasional anomaly that happens to stick out in our brain.  And in that brief moment of Remember This, we do this:     

We judge a book by its cover.

    If you’re the slightest big imaginative, how can you not?  In our head, we fill in the story we imagine might go with the cover of the soul we meet.    Yet you know if you were to actually talk to them, a different story would spill out entirely.

Do you have the curiosity or courage to get to know people not like you?     I challenge you this week to smile, to speak to, maybe even embrace a stranger.   Who knows?  Maybe you’ll glean a nugget of wisdom as each of your individual orbits coincide for the briefest of time.   Kind of like the friendly kid, okay probably twenty-eight year man-child with giant gauge earrings in his ears, and who talked totally surfer dude to me at Trader Joe’s earlier this week.  I couldn’t help but notice his over-sized cargo pants and smallish black t-shirt that boldly claimed in giant white letters LOVE WINS.     Indeed it does, mate.  Indeed it does.

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