How did I live my whole life not knowing?

I was having a discussion the other day with a person who will remain nameless, about the north and south hemispheres and the differences.  The person confessed that he didn’t know until fairly recently that the seasons are the opposite in each hemisphere.  For example, when it is winter in the northern hemisphere, it is summer in the southern hemisphere.  I didn’t laugh because I know very well that there have been things that I have wondered, “how the heck did I live this long without knowing some of the most simplest things in life?”  It actually happened to me during the same conversation.  With an intellectual tone I said, “did you know that the water drains in opposite direction in the southern hemisphere?”  “It’s something to do with the poles.” Well, the person that I was having the conversation with didn’t believe me.  Being so sure of myself, I suggested that I prove it and went to the all-knowing internet.  Low and behold… I was WRONG!  It is a myth and all this time, I believed it.  I’ll tell you, I was so humbled that night.

I remember years ago, that during her show, Rosie O’Donnell learned that cows had to give birth before they could give milk.  She went her whole life thinking that cows could automatically just give milk.  I have met people who in adulthood just discovered that lettuce and cabbage are different things.  I have argued with people, trying to convince them that eggs are NOT in the dairy food group.  Who knew cows don’t lay eggs?  I have even met an adult who, for a very long time argued that tomatoes were not fruit.  I cannot laugh because we are all human, and we all have those ah ha moments of “how did I live my whole life up to now, not knowing?” 

So, are there any readers out there brave enough to own up, and share one or more of those moments?  I promise, I won’t laugh.

Another reason why we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover part II

My “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” ponder continues.  My latest thoughts were brought on lately when I had a free day to myself.  Often, when I get a free day it’s not really free, but instead it’s a day when I pack in a lot of errands because of two reasons: 1.  We live too far away from anything, and 2. We have kids to juggle and it’s a lot easier to wait for a “free day”. 

I had a doctor appointment out of town and had the luxury of having it without children in tow.  After the appointment was over, I was free to do what I pleased.  That meant, to the grocery store to pick up items our small town grocery store didn’t carry, and the hardware store to find weed poison because with all the rain we have been getting, all but the plants that we actually want, have grown, I swear, 6 feet tall.  I had to do something special for myself though, so a bacon blue burger at Wendy’s and a haircut was it. 

I’m not a huge girly girl, and I really don’t understand why women need to go to salons and spend hundreds of dollars on their hair.  Besides, I can’t even afford it.  Those cheap haircut chains work just fine for me.  They do the job, they are affordable, and you don’t have to make an appointment, you can just drop in, a huge plus for busy moms.  After signing in and waiting for a bit, it was my turn to get a refreshing haircut. 

The hairstylist sat me down, wrapped the white bandage (or whatever it is) tightly around my neck, then put the black apron on me.  I was ready.  She started to comb my hair, and as she brushed it away from my ear, she exclaimed, “Oh, you have the same earrings I have on today!”.   Sure enough, she had on earrings that looked very similar to mine.  Fighting to find something to say I finally came up with, “good choice of earrings!”  She then went on to say that it really was her husband’s good choice which were a splurge from him to her, and she acted as if they were quite expensive.

Little did she know, mine were cheap, fake-diamond stud earrings.  Frankly, I don’t see much sense in spending so much money on something so frivolous when you can find something that looks just like the fancy stuff, but for much, much less.  The hairstylist paused for a bit, then quickly rushed me out of my seat.  “Come, let’s wash your hair” she said.  I tried to explain to her that I didn’t really need a shampoo, I had already washed my hair early in the morning before I left for my trip.  “It’s a lot easier to cut, besides, you need to treat yourself when you have a day to yourself without your kids”,  she argued.  I had mentioned earlier when she asked how my day was, that it was good because I was free of my normal chores… namely taking care of children. 

I was baffled and a bit hurt because someone was able to take advantage of me so easily.  I sat grumbling inside as she scrubbed my hair.  “Now, doesn’t that feel good and relaxing?”  she said, and all I could think of was not how that shampoo felt, but how much my so-called cheap haircut was going to cost now with the shampoo included.  I lied, and said yes as I pondered over what the heck just happened.

I wondered, was it my earrings?  Was she under the impression that I had spent as much as her husband led on to how much he spent on her earrings? Did she think that I was affluent, not someone who made the choice to live with very little money for the sake of her children? Not someone who lives on pins and needles each month, wondering if we are going to be lucky enough to make it yet another month?  Or somebody who shops at Goodwill and garage sales for the things that she couldn’t otherwise purchase? Did she think that because of my earrings, that I had lots of money to throw around?

Who knows what she thought of me, and what her first impressions were.  Who knows what the source of her actions really were.  Maybe she forces shampoos on everyone that she comes across, no matter what accessories they adorn.  Maybe she truly understood what a free day was for a busy mom, and honestly wanted to make it a good one for me.  I however, can’t help thinking it was quite suspicious that she forced the shampoo on me after she noticed the earrings. 

It’s funny that this observation was the opposite of what one of my latest blogs about the judgement of people, yet the outcome is the same.  I am learning, that if you make assumptions about how people look, poor or rich, and not for who they really are regardless of their situation, you will most likely be wrong.  It reminds me of a quote in the book that I read lately, The Transformation, by Ainslie Macleod, which I will re-quote:

In an episode of the classic TV series The Odd Couple, character Felix Unger conducts his own defense during his trial for ticket scalping.  Writing on a blackboard, he makes the point that when you “assume,” you make an “ass” of “u” and “me.”

I have hung onto that quote ever since I read it.  By no means am I calling the hairstylist an ass.   Especially since I am the one now, who is making the assumption that she was judging me by the earrings I was wearing.  She was actually quite nice.   I just use her example to learn from.  After my learning and pondering, I now remind myself that when and if I do find myself making assumptions of someone else, rich or poor, big or little, brown or pink, without any kind of facts behind it, I am probably making an “ass” of myself.

Random acts of kindness really are welcome

As I walked into the busy WinCo grocery store the other day, I followed a teenager and his mother or grandmother.  He was one of those teens who wore baggy pants that hung low as if he was going to lose them soon.  He had spiked hair which if I recall correctly, had a bit of color to it, like blue or purple.  He had at least one piercing in his nose or lip.  He didn’t look too happy, probably because he was all dressed up but was forced to hang out with his grandma instead of his cool friends. 

As we all passed through the door, a stranger to this teen, walking out of the store said to him, “hey, that (pointing to the piercing on the nose or lip) is wicked!”  I don’t know the teen, but I what I do know is that comment by the stranger was a HUGE compliment to him.  All of a sudden the boy had a skip in his step, and I swear I saw a sparkle in his eyes.  What a wonderful thing that stranger did!  Most people would have looked at that grumpy teen as a thug, and wouldn’t think to make his day with a simple compliment.

I know the feeling.  The feeling when a complete stranger gives me a compliment right out of the blue.  It happens to me from time to time.  I get compliments on my blog which really do make my day, just like the kid in the store.  The problem is, I am very humble at times, and have a problem with tooting my own horn so to speak, so, I haven’t posted the compliments.   I really do cherish compliments but selfishly do not share them with my readers.  These compliments have come to me via spam, and I just saved them for a rainy day, but lately, without my control, sadly they have been erased for me. 

I would like to say to my readers who have given me compliments on my blog, THANK YOU SO MUCH!  Good for you for brightening a stranger’s day.  I really don’t mean to be rude by not posting your messages.  Not only does it mean a lot to me, but it teaches me a good lesson.  When I see something about someone else that I like, I need to be free with compliments, putting a spring into someone elses step, hoping that they feel the way I do when it happens to me, or like that kid in the store.