Sunday, January 17, 2010

Odd people are everywhere

The Chinese don't wear sunglasses. All the time I was in Beijing, despite the relentless glare of harsh, flat light through the smog, I never saw anyone sporting shades. It was therefor difficult to find any store that sold them, and when I did finally happen upon a shop with a meager spinner rack of them it was difficult to find some I wanted. The very helpful shop keeper kept handing me over-sized, very feminine ala the fifties fashion eyewear, while I sifted through his wares searching for the mirror-coated lenses that I prefer.

Mirro-shades may not really be better at protecting eyes than other sunglasses; that's not why I like them. I like to look at people and people frequently don't like to be looked at. It's fantastic to actually LOOK at people. I was talking with someone today about the variation we humans have bred into dogs, and we chuckled at the thought of such a range imposed on people. Imagine seating on planes then! The variety that does exist among people is still pretty extensive. My main people watching days were back in the 80s in Spokane. While hanging out at The Pipe Rack among 99.99999% men, I head some things my white-bread, college-educated self had never heard before, no, not what you're thinking (although I heard some of that, too). I'd never heard everyday insults like "being hit with an ugly stick." That particular expression got me thinking. Thereafter, from behind my mirros, I'd occasionally try to find a truly ugly person. It's hard to do. When you really look hard at people, not many are actually ugly.

Some people do have unfortunate flaws that at first glance may well be off-putting. Sometimes it's not physical features at all, but might be, clothing, gait, voice, a tic. You can think of or picture someone like that, I'm sure. We all come across people who make us uncomfortable in some way. I suspect that, upon coming across someone in that category, all of us have the immediate instinct of avoidance. All of us. This is not really about guilt for feeling that way, but, if you never take a chance on your own ability to maintain your composure, you can miss some really interesting people.

Oh hell, what am I saying? Too may of us cannot get past skin color much less a limp, a stutter, a twitch, a growth, a droopy facial part, a visible scar, scaly skin, a horse laugh, whatever. You'll never know what you're missing until you can get past your fears. Go ahead, feel the fear, experience a shudder or revulsion, but then say hello.

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