As you walk into your local Starbucks, you see her:
Workout clothes that look like they’ve never soaked in sweat.
Her hand holding a huge coffee, probably her second cup.
Her mouth hasn’t stopped moving since she sat down, you’re guessing.
You eyeball “Ms. Yoga Pants” with her top knot and non-stop word vomit as you wait in line for your caffeine fix. She annoys you because she is sitting there relaxing with a friend while you are heading into work. You have bumper to bumper traffic in your near future while she probably has a two-minute commute home to a couch and cheese curls. You have a presentation this afternoon that you aren’t ready for and you figure she has no obligations except picking up her kids from school. You are no-carbing it and she’s munching on a croissant. What a twat-muffin, you think to yourself.
After the stupid barista finally hears your order (you don’t care that it’s loud in the shop), you think how great it would be to trade lives. You would love to just sit around and gossip about the latest Real Housewives or Bachelor episode. At one point you overhear Yoga Pants mention someone’s ass and try to listen in but their voices drop in volume. Thoughts run through your mind: She’s probably a stay at home mom, a know-it-all blogger, a trophy wife, a waste of carbon…at least, I’m contributing to society with my job and my paycheck.
And then you leave because your coffee is finally ready and the traffic is going to suck.
I saw you too and when I did, I immediately started assuming things.
I think you are rushing to get to work since you kept looking at your watch and exhaling loudly. I wondered if it was because you were late, maybe, because of your kids. My kids make me late A LOT. I see you take your frustration out on the barista who, by the way, is not the reason you are late. I think you’re acting like an asshole. For a split second, I thought maybe I’d buy you a coffee but your body language comes off as angry and menacing. I choose not to approach you because you look like you’d bite my head off. You can pay for your own damn coffee.
I see you glaring at me and my friend as we discussed my mother-in-law and her chemo appointment. I just told my friend that I felt overwhelmed, how I feel like all I can wear in workout clothes because I’m so uncomfortable from my time of the month. She was telling me a story about how she told a total stranger that “her ass looked good” in her workout clothes and I laughed at the thought of that person’s reaction. I told my friend that I would kiss a total stranger if they told me that my ass looked good. You looked up from your phone and stared at me for a moment. You must have heard the word ass and thought you’d listen in. Too late, I changed the subject after that, you nosy jerk.
I always tell my kids to look at people through blank eyes. “Don’t judge that person you see in public,” I say and I’m ashamed of myself because, right now, I am.
I am not looking at you through blank eyes. I’m a hypocrite and I’m blaming you for how lousy I feel at this moment.
I turn my attention back to my friend who I hardly see because of kids, jobs, crazy home lives and family obligations. But your look of judgement has stuck with me. I make assumptions when someone looks at me the way you did. It felt like you believed you were better than me. But you aren’t. I’m not better than you either.
No one is the better person here. We are both human, living different lives but not seeing the whole picture. I don’t know you and if I did, I would know you, understand you and not judge you.
And we would be friends.