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I Stereotyped Today

April 29, 2017

Stereotypes.  cheermomDo we all fall pray to categorizing people at least once in our lives?  I did this today. I’m not happy about it; however, I’m more disappointed that my victim made it so easy to do.  Here’s the scoop. Then you can judge me.  Fair’s fair.

I cover events, normally non-profit, for a small news website encompassing basically a two county area. I like these events.  I usually take a few moments to survey the atmosphere and acclimate myself to the group. Kind of looking for the “action” for lack of a better term.  These events are happy places.  People out, having fun.  And the organizations are thrilled to have coverage.  The locals get to see their little precious kids / grand kids / family out in the community having fun.

I had three events planned today.  First, there was a Master Gardener Plant Sale. Dangerous territory for someone who love herbs, vegetables, fruits and flowers still attached to the vine.  So off I went with my pad of paper, pen and camera. I left my wallet in the car INTENTIONALLY.  Within five minutes, I found a board member to extract the main details from. Took my notes, shook hands and off I went.

Next was Bark in the Park. Yes, it was a dog festival, complete with land mines aplenty. There were pooches in dresses, pooches in strollers and even a tye-dyed large breed poodle that should have been on a Jimi Hendrix album cover.   Nine pooches found homes.  Kids were playing games and pampered pets were being paraded around like stars.  But it was so much fun.

And finally, I face my shame.  A bass tournament held by a private school cheer-leading group was happening at the other end of the park with the pooches. Weigh-in was at 3pm.  Isn’t that the most exciting time for a fishing tourney?  I went to the weigh-in tent looking for an official or someone who could answer questions.  I was directed to three moms standing around the score board. Ironically, I’d overheard them while I was “acclimating.”  They were discussing a number of catty things, none pertaining to fish.

I waited for a conversation break to inquire if I could ask a few quick questions.  I was shut down by ‘cheer mom’ with her little acid retort of “Well, not right now. I’m busy.”  All of a sudden, my sassy jumped out of my mouth.  “Look, I don’t want to be a sponsor, and I don’t have a boat.  I just want to write a story and promote this for you, lady.”  One of the others jumped on that – “what questions do you have?  Would an event flyer help?”  Within three minutes, all the info was gathered for a short article.  Three minutes and four other moms ready to help.

I left ‘cheer mom’ up by the fish scale.  The smell matched her attitude.  Walking away, I thought typical cheerleader mom.  I knew the minute my brain spit it out at me that was wrong.  I don’t know if that’s her 24/7 attitude, and I’m not going to waste time trying to find out.  What I did realize is she was far from typical.

The other women were so kind and helpful.  One of them is even emailing a bunch of photos for the story.   They were the typical people.

I had a day full of typical people.  I saw them selling plants and giving advice on fruit tree leaf fungus.  I saw typical people with their dogs, doing tricks for a pet contest.

Why did I concentrate on the ONE crappy person and label her typical?  I let my thoughts about one person condemn a group.  Hopefully I’ll handle things better in the future and just smile through it.  And I can always throw in “Bless your heart” as I walk away if needed.  This is Alabama.

~R~

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