Thursday, July 31, 2008

Assumptions and Stereotypes

“What are you excited about?”

That was it. One line of text typed (yes, typed) on a blank sheet of paper stuck to a utility pole I walked by one morning last week on my way to a meeting. Hanging next to the paper was a pen on a string.

I started to walk on past the sign, but turned back to it. I do have something that I’m excited about. I’m excited that since June 26, Maurie and I have covered more miles by foot, bike and bus that we have in our car. So, taking the pen I wrote “That I have used my car less than I have biked, walked or taken the bus.” And with that, off I went to catch the bus to my meeting.

I passed the sign on my way back to the office from my meeting. From a few feet away, I could see that someone has added something to the sign, but I couldn’t read it. When I got close enough to read it, here’s what I found. Written below my entry, with an arrow pointing up to mine, was the phrase: “Fricken hippie greener”

I had a good laugh over it. I mean, it’s funny. Here someone has taken one sentence, with no context and no knowledge of the author, and ascribed a set of characteristics to said unknown author. I could go back and reply with snarky comments (yes I did have a couple come to mind), but why?

Let me clarify something. I’m not a hippie or a greener. I was born too late to be a hippie, and I am not a student or alumnus of The Evergreen State College. There’s nothing wrong with either label, they just don’t accurately apply to me.

You know, this was a great, light moment for me that day. I’m still excited about what Maurie and I have accomplished. Name calling and such won’t diminish that one bit. I’ll let you in on a secret that this unknown commentator may never know (well, not unless he or she finds this blog): I’m excited that by not driving as much, we are getting more exercise by cycling and walking, we’re spending time together in situations where we can give each other more undivided attention, we’re spending less for gas, we aren’t stuck in traffic, and we know that we’re doing something to lessen our environmental impact.

Whoops, I did it. I mentioned environmental impact. Does that make me “hippie greener” or a “whacko environmentalist?” It doesn’t really matter, in the end, I’m me, you’re you and we are all who we all are.


1 comment:

MéMé said...

That's a cool idea.

Too bad in Texas, if you put that up, you're liable to get a fine, or the paper ends up being a compendium of every vulgar/obscene/unintelligible word known and unknown to man.

But I could be adhering to the very assumptions and stereotypes you speak of. So I best try it and prove you right. (I'll post about it in my blog no less.) I my be Texan, but I neither own a ranch, nor gun.

You have virtues and restraint only spoken of in these here parts. Kudos.