Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

You’re Never Too Old

I ventured over to Taco Bell for my weekly fix of cheesy  nacho griller. It’s a delicious little concoction that involves a flour tortilla, taco meat, cheese and tortilla strips, all wrapped up and grilled to golden perfection. As I entered I noticed a table of five senior citizens, obviously having a group outing. I smiled at them and took my place in line, trying not to be annoyed that the woman in front of me was placing several orders. The door in the front of the lobby opened, and I saw another senior man walk in, followed by a young woman.

The old man headed straight toward the front of the line, and he looked at me with watery blue eyes, and with a smile declared “Yibbity, gibbety, jibbery.” Clearly he was demented. I smiled and motioned for him to take the place in front of me in line, and the young woman accompanying him thanked me. The old gentleman smiled again, and I was pretty sure I saw him wiggle his bushy, gray eyebrows up and down. It became obvious that the group of seniors were all suffering from Alzheimers or dementia, and the young women were their handlers. I listened to the gibberish being spoken by those gathered at the table, and observed the gentleman in front of me. Even though I didn’t understand any of his words, his positive demeanor and attitude let me know he was a pretty happy fellow. Good for him.

They got their food and joined the others at the table, and I ordered my griller. With treat in hand I headed toward the door. The table of elders was directly in my path, and I smiled at all of them as I approached. And I noticed a spark in the eyes of the gentleman I had met. Again, even though he said no words I could understand, it was obvious to me what he was thinking. I had seen that look before, on the faces of men both young and old. He looked me directly in the eyes and smiled, then his eyes lowered, paused, then lowered again, then paused, then slowly worked their way back up to mine. His smile grew slightly bigger, and indeed his eyebrows wiggled up and down. I had to laugh, as I had just been checked out, quite thoroughly, by an old man. Good for him. I guess you’re never too old to appreciate a thing of beauty.

 

February 26, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ignorance Is Not Prejudice

Well, it’s official. I’ve done the unthinkable. I’ve offended someone. I used a socially offensive term. To someone’s face. A term that incited anger and retaliation from the party I offended. And he happened to be a pretty scary dude to be offending.

Yup, I offended the fella with tattooed arms, the owner of a leather vest with all manner of patches on it. The word that brought the full wrath of this 250-pound plus man down upon me was “gang.” I used it innocently enough, reciting a report I had heard on the news about a recent shooting at a gathering of bikers in downtown Denver. I’m sure the word “Biker,” is probably equally offensive, but I’m pretty sure this guy will never read my blog so for the sake of the story, I’ll allow it.

He was behind the counter, talking about the incident with the guy in front of me. When they turned to include me in the conversation I committed my faux pas. The big guy gave me a stern look and silently turned his back to me.  When he turned around and was holding his black leather vest. He slammed it down on the counter and pointed to a patch on the back of it.

“What does this say?” He demanded.

“MC,” I read it to him, a bit confused.

“That’s right. It’s not MG, it’s MC. Motorcycle club, it’s motorcycle club, not motorcycle gang.” He stared at me, and I immediately expressed my apologies.

“Wow, I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean any offense.” It stung a little at that moment to realize that I should have at least given it some thought, but A. I wasn’t there to write a politically correct article on the guy, B. I didn’t know he was a member of a motorcycle club, and C. I had no idea the term was offensive. I believed my reprimand should have ended there, and would like it to have been followed up with a polite conversation about how to avoid the mistake in the future, maybe the history of motorcycle clubs, or anything that would let me know that we had reached a mutual truce.

But he continued on. For another several minutes. While he scanned my items, took my  money and I was headed out the door.

“We’ve never been gangs.”

Okay, I get it. I did feel stupid for offending him. But then I got angry. How was I supposed to know what was offensive to everyone? I simply haven’t spent much time around certain groups of people. Like motorcycle club members, Hispanics, Native Americans, African Americans, Irish, Amish, Polygamists, Cowboys, Ballerinas, Vegans, etc. How are we to know?

I know there are many times in my daily life that I have to decide whether to take offense or not, and when that happens I usually choose not. The older I get, the more inclined I am to let stuff go, mostly because it’s not worth wasting my time to get upset over things that simply don’t matter.

But I’m genuinely bothered that this guy wouldn’t let it go. That he probably spent the rest of his day being angry at me. So, if anyone reading this is from any particular culture, race, sex, age, religion or lifestyle of diversity, and you might have pointers for me to avoid this situation in the future, please send them my way.

 

 

 

 

February 10, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brilliance vs. Insanity

We spent an awesome weekend in Breckenridge checking out the Budweiser International Snow Sculpting Festival. Artists from around the world came to carve huge blocks of packed snow into intricate sculptures, each depicting a theme or message. Robert’s favorite was “Bolting From Extinction,” which featured a life-sized elephant head on top of a bolt. My favorite was “Love Wins,” which included an angry fist being stopped by the palm of a hand. The results really were amazing, and I couldn’t help but wonder how someone came upon the particular gift of ice carving. It took dedication, and an ability to work in freezing temperatures.

After viewing the sculptures we headed across Main Street to see something called Fire Sculptures. We needn’t have worried about getting lost, as we were guided by 12 foot flames shooting into the sky. As we approached the square where the displays were, curiosity, then awe set in. The sculptures were made of huge metal pieces, including one that resembled organ pipes. Children stepped up to play the organ, and with each stroke of the keys flames shot straight up out of the pipes into the night sky. Another was a round, hula-hoop looking tube that spun within another hoop, again children took the controls and spun the exhibit, triggering bursts of flames at each turn. The effect against the night sky, along with the very cold temperatures, was mesmerizing, and we muscled our way through the crowd to get a better look.

The third sculpture resembled a large metal spider, with long legs spread out to steady the huge steel ball in the center. Inside the ball was another, smaller ball, and the balls spun simultaneously, with fire deep in the belly of both balls. As they spun faster, the flames morphed and whipped into amazing shapes, and the legs trembled under the weight and force. I couldn’t imagine how someone would even think up such a contraption, then wondered what it would be like to have that thought in your head. Did you see it in a dream? Did you add to it each day? Was the need to build this thing in your head all-consuming? I figured it must be an artist thing. I knew nothing of the artist who created this, but I did know it had to have taken a lot of time and a lot of money to build. Which made me ponder. This was an incredible art display, but what about the person with the same vision in his head, but no money to build it? Were some of the “crazy” people wandering around downtown Denver collecting metal simply trying to bring their own visualization to life? Was their brilliance being confused with insanity? Perhaps money is the fine line between the two.

fire sculpture

February 3, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment