I just returned from a week’s vacation in Negril, Jamaica and, of course, now must ruminate on the experience. Without using superlatives. Therein lies a bit of a challenge. To say it was a fabulous vacation doesn’t quite explain how, for the first time ever, I returned from a vacation feeling relaxed and rested. To say Jamaica is amazing doesn’t quite illustrate just how paradise-like it really is. To say I would love to go back doesn’t quite sum up just how quickly I started looking for spare change to put in my “Jamaica Jar” for the next visit.
But (and you knew this part was coming) what I really want to write about today is what our words say about us.
We flew first to Houston, Texas. Right there should give you an idea why I titled this little ditty as I did. But I shall continue.
We took the red-eye from Portland, Oregon and got in at about 5 am, so stopping by Starbucks was our first act after visiting a bathroom where you don’t have to wrap your leg around your head in order to sit on the toilet. We purchased 2 grande lattes and a large bottle of water. It came to just short of $13.00. (They really took that “everything is bigger in Texas” to heart.) But as I shimmied my pinned and needled hiney around the counter to add sugar to my steaming cup of caffeine, I hear the man behind me say to the barista, “Where you from? ‘Cause you talk real good English.”
There isn’t enough caffeine in a grande latte to keep that from bringing me down.
“Where you from?” “Talk real good English”??? Are you kidding me? What Sally Struthers School of Business did you get your degree from, pray tell. I sure hope they didn’t charge you much for that diploma because they left out a bit of instruction on such things as verbs and sentence construction. Or maybe you just got lazy due to sleep deprivation. I don’t know but I did judge.
In case you are wondering, the barista did speak quite beautifully – lyrically intonated and grammatically correct, although a bit hard to hear over the mad-chaos of gazillions of tired travelers.
But this story isn’t as much about that beautiful young man with the big, brown eyes and lovely barely-accented speech as it is about judgement.
In a moment, we make snap decisions about a person’s very self based upon a few words. Smart, stupid, nice, irritating, educated, ignorant, self-less, selfish, whatever. Our words are our ambassadors and they can represent or misrepresent our more-complex selves at any given time.
So, tell me this. Where would your words land you?