Within the past year, I met two new people. Real, live people whose names I choose not to divulge. Though it is unlikely they will read this post, I am not ready to communicate with them on this level. But, “I do know for sure,” our “acquaintance relationship” will never develop into a “real and trusting friendship,” until we have an honest conversation about what I have shared in this post.
If our eyes met in the Exercise Room at the Y, on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., Georgia Hubby and I would share a nod and a brief smile. For three years, Georgia Hubby and I followed this ritual; and I saw no reason to do anything more.
In all honesty, satisfied with the status-quo, I would silently say, “I know who you are,” but, “I really don’t want to know you.” On the surface, Georgia Husband seemed like a nice enough man, but, I had already formed my opinion of him. Based on two things, Georgia Husband is a:
WHITE MALE from GEORGIA with a SOUTHERN ACCENT
Georgia Hubby and My Hubby’s “acquaintance relationship” upgraded a teeny-bit to a “small talk relationship;” and; I eventually entered the “small talk circle.” Late last year, Hubby and Georgia Husband, scheduled a date for us to go out to dinner and meet his wife.
Georgia Wife is petite, barely five-feet tall, probably weighs no more than 120 pounds, still in her forties, and very focused on her career as a health care provider. I was surprised at her striking contrast to Georgia Husband, who is at least 6 feet tall, retired, 69+ years, and a happy house-husband who is quite comfortable in this role. Something, I have rarely, if ever seen.
But, again I couldn’t see Georgia Wife and my relationship going beyond a casual “couples dining out” because she is a:
WHITE FEMALE from GEORGIA with a SOUTHERN ACCENT
As we begin to have deeper conversations with the Georgia Couple other questions arose; politically, Hubby and I are as far to the left as they are to the right.
Perhaps, I can overcome the “differences” when I feel comfortable enough to express that a “difference exist.” Georgia Couple is probably assuming that Hubby and I share their views because we have failed to offer a counter-argument or voice our opinions. Politics, poverty, race, and other social issues on unfair conditions and unequal treatment, are difficult conversations to have. Especially, with those who see things differently.
Summer vacations, as a girl, spent with my grandparents in rural Mississippi was the training ground that taught me to fear WHITE PEOPLE from the SOUTH who spoke with a SOUTHERN ACCENT. Yes, my grandparents were guilty of stereotyping, but their lives were self-programmed to fear based on the inhumane and often vicious attacks against black people in the south during their lifetime.
Compounding this, I lived through a period when scenes like the following were occurring in the south.
Overcoming my stereotypical views of the Georgia Couple will take work. I do not fear them; but, my perception of their past life experiences as well as knowledge of their current beliefs creates a major barrier to our entering into a “real and trusting friendship.”
But, I have not given up. This could very well happen when I decide to have an open and honest conversion with the “Georgia Couple” about my current values and beliefs as well as open up to them about my past life experiences.