The bus comes every 30 minutes. I decided "oh hey, I have to export my animation so I should go early." Long story short, I missed the bus so I had to wait at the bus stop for 30 minutes.
20 minutes later a guy, probably in his mid-to-late 30's, comes and sits on the bench by me. Side note, I think the best thing to do when someone walks up or when you walk up to someone is to say something right away, break dat ice ya digg? It makes it a lot easier to keep talking to them once you've already started. "Good morning!" "Good morning!" That's all you need to start possibly the best conversation of your life...
This man had a lovely smile that never went away, gold teeth and all. We ended up talking about his job and how he is grateful for it after he got laid off at his last one. He is also about to start the late shift which he likes because it's quiet (11pm-6am). He usually likes to keep to himself because some people just try to start trouble. We talked about FSU and then about NC. "I heard it's pretty rough up there with gangs. Like in Raleigh..." Of course he was talking about Durham. Which, of course, I corrected (gently) and then said that's where I'm from in my chipper, life-is-filled-with-rainbows-and-pretty-things voice.
Then we started talking about racism. Those of you who don't know me well probably don't know that racism is something that gets under my skin so much. Putting ranks on skin tone and making generalizations based on outer appearances is one of the most ignorant, disheartening, frustrating things in the world to me. I try not to talk about it because I get so upset about it.
"Is it very racist up there?" he asked. After waiting a second and deciding not to go on my soap box I said, "I think anywhere you go you'll find some type of racism." I told him about my high school where, although we live in a "desegregated" country, was filled with cliques and segregation. If you were to walk into the lunch room it wouldn't take you long to notice it. I'm not sure how much of it was from race and how much was from other things like wealth, interests, location, etc. Not to run off on too much of a tangent but people always use that excuse that "people are more comfortable around people who look like them" and I'm just not buying it. Someone could look totally different than you but agree with everything you agree with. I think it's more about the fact that people don't want to be told they're wrong and feel threatened around people who disagree with them. People think they can tell so much about a person from their appearance. Of course you can tell some about their interests or what they want you to think their interests are. But you can't say, "You have dark skin, you must not like anything my pale friends and I like." That's a bunch of bull and a super lame excuse. Think of something more intelligent or at least somewhat accurate, please.
Back to the story, he then started talking about how he has never seen people as being defined by their color because we're all created by the same God and we're all equal in his eyes. (can I get an AMEN?!?)
The thing about that morning is that I was in a pretty bad mood and was fully convinced that all people just suck. It's so easy to get caught up in our pain and in our problems (big and small) and forget that there really is beauty in people. Give them a chance to show you. Sure, sometimes, maybe a lot of times they will fail you and show their ugly side. Don't let yourself think they are one dimensional. I think that everyone has an ugly side and a beautiful side. Keep searching for that beautiful side. You'll find it even if it's just one 30-something-year-old man with gold teeth and a mechanic's uniform.
To get you started, check out this link: http://www.buzzfeed.com/expresident/pictures-that-will-restore-your-faith-in-humanity