Time well wasted

Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Strangers (Part 2)


Cindy:
Early 50's
Mother
Married?
Likes Foo Fighters
Retired Teacher

This is what we know so far...

We get in the car and begin the journey to Walmart. It's a little after 7. She starts talking ballet - which we've already established I know nothing about. She teaches me a little bit, really she tells me a little bit because if she had taught me anything I'd be able to recall what it was. Then she talked a little about opera, another subject I'm not quite up to snuff on. So then she starts asking me about myself, but not in a boring way, she'd ask a question then use that answer to try to guess things about me, and she was amazingly good.

She asked where I was from and I told her Monett, she knew of the town and told me some stories about her travels to SW Missouri (including a recent trip to Neosho involving a $150 parking ticket for parking in a handicapped spot which she parked in because of the surgery - I didn't ask what the surgery was about). We then talked about Precious Moments - which she thinks is "really creepy" which makes me laugh real hard. So I told her that I thought the bluebird place is way creepier and told her about the crazy little girl with fangs. Turns out she knows the people who own it and said he'd get a kick out of my opinion.

I had told her I was a student, she said I sounded intelligent and took a stab at my ACT score, she was pretty close. Then she guessed I was 22, that's one of those things no one ever gets right, so thats ok. She took that I was 25 to mean I was in Grad school (luckily true, some people are still in undergrad at 25, it's not all that uncommon). She guessed from the way I spoke about school that it wasn't in something "boring like business" but something "with social value like counseling or social work" and pretty much named off all the programs in my department except education. I told her it was education and she immediately guessed I wanted to work at the college level. Right again (she did mention I would be terrific in the younger levels where "they need the most help" but was proud of me for choosing the field). She assumed by my car that I had a job (pretty easy guess) and asked me about that, we then talked about tutoring for a while because it was something she had done for a while at the university as well.

At this point we've reached Wal-Mart, but she's still talking, she's really quite interesting so I pull in near one of the handicapped spots up front and put the car in park. We've probably been talking 10 or 15 min at this point. She's about to get out when she says something about a Hilary campaign support group she's a part of then says "but you're probably an Obama supporter aren't you?" Guilty as charged. She shifts back into the car and shuts the door and asks if I have a minute to explain why I like Obama. From there the conversation takes a sharp turn from PC chit chat to completely open dialog about politics, racism and sexism. She made another guess that my Dad was a farmer (very close, Agricultural Specialist for Mizzou, my grandfather was a farmer though). And told me about her parents (farmers from the south) who were very racist, they didn't dislike African Americans, they just didn't trust them or think they were as good. She was completely open with the fact that because of that she had trouble liking Obama and that she felt terrible that she felt like that. We then discussed how different my generation is and how the world is becoming more racially blind in parts but in others its as bad as ever and how she wished she could see things like I do. By the end of the conversation I had convinced her to check out Obama and not just vote for Hilary. By this point it's about ten till 8. So we've been talking 30-40 min. She told me one more story before she got out, but sadly I don't remember it right now. I then wished I had said yes to the ballet, but it was kinda too late at that point. She shook my hand, tried to pay me again and thanked me a few more times before leaving. It wasn't until after I pulled out of the parking lot that I remembered I had my camera on me and was pretty disappointed I didn't get a shot with her. But such is life.
posted by Brian @ 3:36 PM  
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