Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

SHATTERING STEREOTYPES
After enjoying a delightful early birthday weekend with Tim and the family, I rushed home to shower and get ready to go meet a source I need for my Dumpster diving story. I threw the leftover carrot cake in the fridge, attempted to wash the smiley faces of my hand and minimize my multi-colored nail polish, compliments of Princess Ashley in the form of a birthday manicure, using every color of polish she owned. I cleaned up and headed to the local Deadhead bar to meet Mr. R.
I had spoken to him on the phone, but had never met him. He has been in the food service industry for more than 20 years, and based on what I believed about workers in that industry, I was expecting to meet a gaunt-looking, toothless white guy. I know that sounds judgmental, but that is the exact stereotype that came to mind regarding the industry. I found Mr. R through the street paper, he had written a very compelling story. It was well-written, although a little on the amateur side,which, I decided, is why I liked it. I’m always encouraging people to write, so I figured I’d meet him for a drink, ask a few questions for my story, give him some words of encouragement, and be back home in an hour.
I was surprised when a nice-looking black man, not much bigger than myself, approached me and introduced himself as Mr. R. He didn’t look the least bit haggard or gaunt, and had a great smile and a firm handshake. He refused to let me buy him a drink, and we started chatting in a manner that was so natural that it nearly an hour had passed and I still hadn’t gotten around to asking him questions about the story.
He was very well-spoken as he regaled me with stories of his life. He’s a card-reader, conspiracy theorist, 99 percent sympathizer and had a great sense of humor. He was very candid about his race, and the trials/benefits/challenges it had posed throughout his life. A high school athlete and scholar, he had succeeded at several careers throughout his life. He was indeed a pleasure to talk to.
After nearly three hours of chatting, and three beers, it was time for me to take my leave and head home. We agreed to chat the next day to get information for the story, and as I got up to leave he insisted on walking me home, which was good because although I only live three blocks away, night had fallen and the nefarious characters were beginning to line up along Colfax. He walked me through several groups of scary characters, and reminded me to be safe when walking alone. Especially if I was carrying a purse.
After making sure I got into my building safely, he turned and began the walk back toward his own home. I couldn’t help but smile as I got ready for bed. I felt like I had met a kindred spirit, and realized it had been a while since I had such engaging conversation—especially with a stranger.

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April 23, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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