Friday, February 03, 2006

when the right things just fly out of your mouth

A few years ago I was at Menards, trying to decide what piece of plywood I should get or something like that, when a handsome, young employee came up to me and did what he could to help me decide. Our conversation turned a bit personal and he wondered what nationality I was. Which is German but often people think I’m Greek or Hispanic. Then he did a rendition or another of “what’s that thing on your head for?” I told him I am of the Amish Mennonite tradition. There’s a long pause. Then he says, “Wow,…I didn’t know the Amish could be so…so, beautiful.”
I looked him in the eye and said calmly, “We are all, very beautiful.”

8 comments:

Peter said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Peter said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
akauffman said...

My goodness, that is simply hilarious. I laughed so hard....
But seriouly, why does everyone think the Amish are ugly?

espíritu paz said...

What? Everyone thinks Amish are ugly? Guess I've never heard that. I doubt if this dude ever saw an Amish person before. It was purely a come-on and as far as that being good marketing. Perhaps to the right crowd. My sisters and I have never taken well to that kind of thing from strangers and idiots. I'm recalling a story where my sister, nicknamed Kimba for a reason, grabbed a kid by his neck and slammed him into the lockers for a similar offense. Jr. High.

Peter said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Blorge said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Blorge said...

Peter- I totally agree with you, it only takes a smile :)

Espiritu- this post was great. I must say, though, that I had to ask your nationality because I thought you were hispanic as well. Do you tan during the winter? ;)

espíritu paz said...

Ah, daling, I went to the tanners this mornin’ an they hadn’t changed the bulbs yet. The replacer guy was on vacation and I says to them, well then why did you let me make my appointment this mornin’ cuz you know I don’ except light from no ol’ bulbs. And I left that place with an huff an a puff because I had plans for that tan. I was gunna go back to that Menards store and look at sumore plywood.
(hiccup giggles…..)
But continuing in all seriousness, each one here raises an interesting situation. I suppose after many long years I have come to tolerate gracefully and understand completely the goodwill behind that which I have been conditioned to reject and receive as an offense. That which is perceived as flattery and that which encourages vanity and objectification of particulars in my culture (I won’t bore anyone with further details and explanations here)—all these highly negative perceptions of an action in one culture is unfortunately a compliment in another. I have no trouble accepting the compliments of a good friend when I perceive them to be genuine. Smiles and courtesies are given freely to all, by all. Yet, I find it interesting that in this age of diversity awareness—where care is given to not have one’s actions offend another, in cross cultural situations—I have encountered many people who insist on persisting in the assault of good will, when I mention the perceptions of my heart culture. I suppose I wouldn’t find out about all those who silently didn’t insist. It’s all just so very interesting.

The true glory in the original scenario was that I had finally had my say—a comeback delivered perfectly—which rendered him responseless, as I had been rendered countless other times. Finally, I had risen above the offense I felt in my heart quickly enough to engage “the other” on his level, in his language.

Thanks for all youn’s input and for letting me express myself.