I am often surprised by people, animals and things that don’t meet the expectations I’ve put on them. At my age, you’d think I would have learned not to have any prejudices.
There are names I don’t particularly like because I associate them with people who have hurt me or with whom I had a difficult relationship. Other names draw me, again because of association.
The name Shaurya will forever make me laugh because he was the young Indian man who inadvertently knocked me for a swim in the icy October waters of a roiling river in Colorado.
A man with strawberry blond hair and a ruddy complexion is supposed to have an adventurous, entrepreneurial spirit like my old boyfriend, Tom.
When I meet someone who reminds me of someone else, it is hard not to attribute the same personality traits or character flaws to them or expect the same graces. I know it’s unfair of me. Most of us didn’t name ourselves.
If I’ve had a bad experience with a device, appliance or automobile, I tend to shy away from that model or brand. On the other hand, I expect Hewlett-Packard printers to last forever. They have a good name.
I think manatees are ugly, even scary-looking, rather like a swimming hippopotamus. I would not want to run into one in the ocean. I must allow, however, they can’t help the skin they’re born in. Just because one looks like a hippo does not predispose one to the aggressiveness of a hippo.
I met an Australian couple once, when I was a store clerk. They were looking for a spice we didn’t carry and I thought they were a little bit haughty in their disappointment. Does this mean all Aussies are arrogant? I think not.
When I was an Okie, I met a Dallas couple in the Tulsa airport on their way to gamble in Vegas. The woman had a syrupy drawl, blonde hair and tight slacks and her hands dripped with gemstones. She was a walking, talking cliché! So was her tall, muscular husband, who divided his time between the football game over our heads and the guy he was doing business with via cell phone.
Having moved to Texas, I can assure you they aren’t all rich, flamboyant business people. Or gamblers. Or blonde.
When I first relocated here, my car had an Oklahoma tag and the driver was often lost, hesitant and non-aggressive. Texans honked at me to get out of the way.
Within a month, I had paid the exorbitant fees, surrendered all identity from my native country and officially become a licensed, plated Texan. I was still lost and undone by the traffic and odd rules but they stopped honking.
I suppose I had changed my skin. I suppose I’m not the only one with prejudices.