Categories = Human

16Jul07

Today while I was wrestling with the laundry and buying the dog food and the groceries a sudden stupid “aha” moment struck me. I say “stupid” because it’s something that’s straight forward and perfectly obvious – except it wasn’t to me.

Having to wait in a number of lines today I noted that the check out assistants always called people sir or ma’am while hardly looking at the people they were serving. This is not to say that every assistant always treats every customer this way (some are very attentive) but enough do this to make me realize that the “sir” or the “ma’am”s were not representative of who the customers actually were but rather the nice, neat, little category that the assistants could quickly use to seem polite without having to be polite so that they could shuffle the clients out the door as rapidly as possible.

Then, it struck me that most of us do this in our day to day lives. Perhaps not as roughly as the assistants did but still often and as a matter of necessity as well. Most of us learn that people fall into certain types while we’re in high school. There are nerds, jocks, preps, kickers, lamers, etc. As we get older those categories get more sophisticated but my bet is that we still have them. We’re just more flexible with them.

Add to that fact – Modern life doesn’t have time for people in transit.

If your not in transit and safe at home or at your place of work you have time to get to know people. But if you’re doing chores and getting from point A to B most people just ignore everyone else for the most part until the tasks are done.

No, I’m not going to try to render a judgment based on these two observations. I’m just going to present them and let them stay in the back of our minds.

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