Sunday, February 17, 2008

Hello, again


A few weeks ago, in Hello in there, I wrote about seeing a woman in full chador and being so surprised that all I could do was look away. I was disappointed in myself. So today I got a do over. I was at my neon-lit, antiseptic grocery store, full of pasty faced heartlanders, pushing my shopping cart down the aisle. As I turned the corner, there was a woman draped head-to-toe in black, with only her eyes peering out. She stood out like a raven in a yard full of sparrows. Again, I was surprised, but this time - having thought it through out loud here, in front all of you - I was able to glance at her, as I would anyone else, and smile, as I would with anyone else, and walk on.

This matters a lot to me because I know what it's like to be stared at, and I have to deal with people staring at my special needs daughter. So today I did better. Yay me, until the next time I stumble over something entirely different and unexpected, which, no doubt, you'll hear all about.

17 comments:

jason said...

"Yay you" indeed!

It's those little personal milestones that mean the most.

Y | O | Y said...

While I still take note of women in such dress, I think it is more because they are dressed differently and therefore stand out. I pay just as much attention to the older women of the Red Hat Society with their red hats and purple clothes.

yellowdog granny said...

well, you would have reason to be startled if when you saw her...if she was here in west,texas population of 2,00(mostly czech's and their descendants) she would be not only stared at, but old lady's would go up to her and try and peek under her head dress...it's what you did on your second sighting that says the most about you...the smile..i bet it made her day...

yellowdog granny said...

oops, that's 2,000 not 2oo

Silly Monkey said...

I'm always afraid to smile at people like that because I'm not familiar enough with their culture to know if smiling is coming on to them or something.

Java said...

"Yay me, until the next time I stumble over something entirely different and unexpected, which, no doubt, you'll hear all about."

That's why we're here, dear.
Congrats. You got it right on the second try rather than the 245th.

citizen jane said...

Brava! As the mama of a special needs boy myself, I understand your sentiment completely. People usually aren't malicious or mean-spirited with the stare or the ignore -- they often just aren't sure how to react when they come across someone different from their norm. That's a lesson I sometimes forget whist wrapped up in my own protective defense shield that I don when out with my little guy and his leg braces and quirky movement garner some inquisitive attention.

Yay you indeed.

Elizabeth said...

Jason: You're right. Day-to-day, the little milestones are often all we have to measure ourselves by.

y-o-y: The red hat ladies actually scare me! They look like such normal people who, one day, suddenly lost their senses (of style) and now mistake tacky for spunky. I worry that someday I'll turn into a red-hat lady. Noooo!

Elizabeth said...

Granny: Thanks dear.

Silly M: Since I'm a woman (and now that I no longer live in the SF/Bay area!) I don't have to worry about that assumption. In general, I think a smile is always a safe and welcome thing. But in this case - an interaction between a man and a woman in full chador - I don't know. So perhaps you're right to look discreetly away. Does anyone out there have info/knowledge about this?

Java: As a mom who is busy busy busy chasing after four kids and one old house all day, this is often the one time each day that I make time to sit and reflect on things. So I actually really have come to depend on this, and all of you, in a way I never thought I would. So thanks for being there.

Citizen J: It's different, isn't it? Going through the world with a special-needs kid. Such extraordinary wierdness sometimes, such extraordinary kindness others, and never knowing which to expect. I've been meaning to blog more about this. Maybe I will soon.

sageweb said...

Wow, how cool is that. Since I read your last post on this, I have been a ton more aware of the stare ,no smile, or look away. I make an effort to not do any of them. A nice look a good warm smile, it makes me and I am sure them feel a lot more comfy.

Elizabeth said...

Sage: I'm so pleased.

Auld Hat said...

I have done the same exact thing! It's interesting when we are faced with our own imediate reactions. For the life of me I would have sworn on a stack of (books that mean something to me) that should I come face to face with her I would not have reacted any differently. And yet, when the moment arose...I froze.

Boy About Town LB said...

I just wanted to say thanks for the love and support during the past 2 awful days...our Baby is home!! I will stop by a lot more often

Elizabeth said...

Hat: I know. But all you can do is try to do better next time, right?

Boy: I'm so glad your pup is back and that she's OK.

more cowbell said...

It's not so uncommon here. I mean, not common, but not exactly rare. Well, as someone else said, it's what we do that second time that says something, eh?

D-Man said...

Yay!!! I try so hard to do the same.

Elizabeth said...

Cowbell: Life's all in the trying, and then trying again, at least for me!

D-man, thanks for the yay. A girl can always use one!