In was a Saturday afternoon, much like any other. After hours of trying to convince myself to brave the frigid cold and get out from under the covers, Sherrita and I began a texting war attempting to motivate one another to do something, anything, after a long work week. We finally decided sushi was reason enough and agreed to meet. We each arrived a half an hour late, her do to forgetfulness and having to backtrack and me do to lack of GPS and sense of direction, and laughed as we realized both behaviors should have been predicted.
We both carried in our books, secretly knowing that we had too much catching up to do to actually study and went to what can now be dubbed our booth. As expected, we talked and talked and talked. And then, as expected, we both convinced one another to run errands with each other. My “errand” was looking for shoes, shocking, and hers was going to Sam’s Club on a Saturday afternoon. That should show our level of friendship!
We pulled up and were met with a full spectrum of cultures. Everyone had their own methods of parking, pushing their carts, even how to stand in line. Each person representing a unique culture, yet somehow driven by the culture of American consumerism.
And, within an instant, I was confronted with my own unintentional stereotypes.
I quickly went to frustration as lines weren’t going the direction I thought they should go, people pushed past me without an “excuse me” or “sorry,” and there was no systematic way to go up and down the aisles. Almost as quickly as the frustration came, another realization came as well. The realization that my frustration came because I wanted everyone to do things my way. Instead of embracing and cherishing that I was surrounded by people of different socio-economic backgrounds, races, and cultures, all I could focus on was getting what I wanted when I wanted it (guess we could go back to that consumerism I was talking about earlier and add self-centeredness to the mix). I could have been mesmerized that I heard three different languages in the course of 30 minutes, instead of annoyed that I couldn’t get around their cart.
Once the realization came, my perspective changed. I became patient and flexible. I became friendly and engaging. And, surprisingly, I received the same.
I know the story should stop there, but if I didn’t include this last part I would be doing a huge disservice.
The best part of Sherrita is that she has a big personality. She funny, loud at times (you know it’s true), confident, and completely in control of herself. Well…after my little epiphany, we were having a great time. We were joking off, meeting new people, and enjoying the bargains. Sherrita was pushing the cart in front of me, when I saw exactly what I needed. Before I knew it, I exclaimed, “oh, big sexy,” referring to my favorite hair products. I grabbed it just as Sherrita turned around. She looked at me and immediately knew that I was referring to hairspray. I looked at her and immediately knew that when I said “big sexy” she thought I was talking about her!
Both of us burst into laughter, while the people from all different cultures joined us!