Friday, May 9, 2014

I thought I knew something about her.

I am an airhead. A regular space cadet.
I am constantly day dreaming and when I try to use my brain for anything productive, I often find that somewhere along the way, I've managed to put the horse before the cart.
It's probably because of this fact and a concern about what could happen to an unobservant girl that my dad started sitting me down to people watch and teaching me how to profile at an early age.

I rarely admit as much, but inwardly I've probably come up with twelve things about you within the first 5 minutes of meeting you based on your body language; your shoes; the way your eyes move when you talk. A lot of the time, I'm right.

And there are times, really humbling times, when I'm wrong.

Recently, I was selected to work on a political campaign.
"Smart move; you're doing this to schmooze?" everyone suspected as much.
But in reality, I was there because I believe wholeheartedly in the candidate and what I think she can and will do for our state. All of this hardly matters in terms of where I'm taking this post except that early on in the campaign, I met a girl.

The prospective campaign fellows were asked to help the campaign persuade targeted voters at their homes. At the briefing for this event, a girl showed up. She was blonde and as she tucked her bangs behind her ears, her perfectly manicured nails revealed diamond studs. Real ones.

She was wearing a banana republic trench and a burberry scarf, and her pale blue eyes were framed by thick tortoise shell raybans. I smiled at her when she walked in and she didn't smile back. As we were briefed, she couldn't have looked more bored if she tried. I remember thinking, as I left the briefing that afternoon, that she was some rich girl just there to meet whoever could help her get an internship at the capitol.

I was surprised, then, a few weeks later, when I saw her again at the fellows' orientation. She sat two rows behind me during the lecture. Alone, save another girl who was sitting next to her. The girl had short hair and was wearing a button down and tie tucked neatly under a sweater vest and khakis. She was unmistakably a lesbian and she was enthusiastically chatting up the snobby blonde who seemed locked in a perpetual state of ennui. I wanted to turn to the girl in the tie and say, "don't bother. She's not like you and me." But I refrained.

As we wore further into the orientation, I turned to look at the blonde.
Why? I can't remember. Maybe someone had coughed behind me, maybe someone came into the hall just then. Maybe I was turning around to see her reaction to something being said in the orientation. Whatever it was, when I turned and looked at the blonde, she was holding hands under the desks with the girl in the tie. Their fingers were laced and their clasped hands were resting on the girl with the tie's lap.

The orientation rhetoric was talking about equality, and why the idea mattered to Texas. Equality across economic lines; equality across gender lines; equality for all couples. The two women were nodding their heads in unison and I saw tears swell, if only for a moment, in the blonde's blue eyes. She gave her partner's hand a little squeeze and the girl with the tie smiled. And then, the blonde went back to looking bored.

And that was the moment I was reminded that I don't know shit about other people's lives. There are some things you can't tell about a person by their nails; their shoes; their tortoise shell glasses. Every once in a while, it's nice to have a reminder that everyone is fighting their own battles.

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