A short essay about seeing people from a different perspective.
| I like to people watch. I am a fan of www.peopleofwalmart.com. I will nudge a friend with my elbow in the mall if I see a person with a purple mohawk and facial piercings and whisper “Whoa! Check that out!”. Sitting in a bar with a friend we will make guesses about which drunk girl will go home with which drunk guy. I will watch a reality show with another friend and discuss how we would never compete with other girls, especially slutty ones, for a half washed up 80’s rock star. My co-workers and I will discuss the audacity of lying politicians, drug addicted movie stars and sex addicted cheating sports figures. However……
I went to visit my sister today. I live in the suburbs and she lives in the city of Syracuse. As I drove my 11 year old minivan that’s rusty and dirty I was in a miserable mood, I was feeling sorry for myself and angry over, well, everything. As I got off the exit of the highway and made my way through the city streets and saw a man pushing a grocery cart full of empty cans and bottles up a hill. Normally I wouldn’t give it much thought as that is a common sight on a city street and sadly I have become desensitized to it. However today it struck me. I wondered what his life has been thus far that brought him to that point. What was his childhood like? Had he lost both his parents as a child and had to grow up without the proper guidance? Did he have parents but they didn’t care? Did he have parents that cared but he fell into an addiction? Did he have parents that cared, escaped addiction but fell victim to a mental disease like schizophrenia? I drove on but my mood began to change. I got to my sister’s house and as I waited for her I saw a young Vietnamese girl come out of her house. She was wearing a thin Oriental flower print skirt, an American looking brown hooded sweatshirt and green rain galoshes that looked too big for her feet. She walked down the front steps of her porch and over to the snow bank at the end of her driveway. For a minute I thought she was going to maybe play in the snow and I thought she didn’t look happy about it. She leaned over and began to pick Budweiser beer bottles out from the snow. As she moved gracefully but despondently I wondered what brought her to that point. Was America what she thought it would be? What must her and her family’s life been like before they came here? Could she speak English? I hoped she could speak English. How sad that would be to be unable to communicate and understand the world around you. Did her family come to America with high expectations of the promised rights made by our country’s forefathers of the life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Where their expectations snuffed when they arrived here and discovered that while this is the land of opportunity the land before each person is fallow and needs to be tilled and sown with hard work and extreme determination? I took my sister to the grocery store and as I waited in my 11 year old dirty, rusty minivan I watched people going in and out, wondering what each of their life’s stories were, wondering about all the joys and sorrows behind each pair of eyes. We are all different and we are all the same. What breaks one person’s heart may not break another’s but the heaviness of heartache is collective.
I would be a lying hypocrite if I said that I will no longer people watch, visit www.peopleofwalmart.com, nudge a friend with my elbow, play guess the drunken couple, turn my nose up at slutty reality show women and question the morals of celebrities. But after today, every once in a while, I will people watch from a different perspective and keep in check my audacity to be judgmental.
Thanks for reading…..ok now go check out the people of Walmart website, you know you want to :o).