Last week, I dedicated another blog post to a fellow co-worker who recently passed into another dimension. One’s death is to everyone else’s life what a damp tissue is to someone’s glasses. It doesn’t always change much about the glasses themselves and their density, but it helps them refocus and let you see things a little clearer. After the gathering for Mr. N, I had interesting conversations with fellow staff members, some of whom I’ve even had reservations about. With all the memories people shared about him, the first thing I thought was:
Maybe the only way we grow is if we don’t treat people like cartoons.
Here’s what I mean:
Sometimes, we keep a certain set of characteristics about people. How they act, what they eat, what they don’t like, their reasons for living all become part of this depiction we have about certain people. Over time, this caricature becomes so ingrained in our psyche that, even after not having seen them in years, we still rely on those descriptions to form how we interact with the person in the future.
And that’s good because a) it says that the person’s important enough to remember. Also, it’s also good because there are certain parts of a person’s persona that never change, just become augmented or shift a little bit. However, it’s also fool’s gold because these characterizations lead people to think that we humans aren’t capable of change, and that’s far from the truth.
I know I’ve made certain judgments about people in the past that I’m not necessarily proud of, but over time, as I got to know them a little better and see them in times of conflict and triumph, I get to see another side of them that I’ve never seen before. That shift of understanding came with years of getting to know the person, interacting with them, and not being too quick to judge them. Then, when you don’t see them for a while and don’t interact with them for a while, you’re better suited to greet them.
It’s just a thought I had as that day passed. Nevermind all the characterizations I had of the man when I first met him: mean, overbearing, bitter. What I knew of him as we started interacting more was the man you read about last week. In turn, it must also mean that I too have changed. Not just in my interactions with that one man, but everyone else, too. Nothing changes like changes because nothing changes but the changes, huh?
jose, who wonders what you’re thinking (comment below) …
p.s. – It’s funny that I quote Gary Busey because he’s usually a knucklehead, but gems like the title give him mucho props from me.