A couple weeks ago I was waiting at the bus stop to go to the airport. A two businessmen were joking around on the bench. I stood nearby, practicing Japanese on my phone.
One of them gave up on the late bus after a while so I started talking to the other one. He was friendly and a good conversationalist. Fifteen minutes into the conversation he casually and without shame mentioned that he was homeless.
Man. I was way off on that one, I thought.
The bus finally came and brought us to the airport. Backpack strapped to my back I ran across the arrivals lanes, up the escalator, across the lobby, and through security. Time from bus to gate? Seven minutes.
In the middle seat next to me was a non white woman. I assumed she was poor based on her ethnicity and the way she was dressed. She pulled out an ipod. Those poor people, always buying these that they can't afford.
An hour into the flight she opens up her year or two old apple laptop. There's a picture of the Golden Temple of Kyoto on her desktop. It looks like it might be a snapshot.
"Hey, I don't mean to be spying on you, but have you been to the Golden Temple?"
"Oh, no. My daughter is learning Japanese and she put it there."
I turn my screen to her to show her that I'm learning Japanese too. For the next half hour or so we have one of the most pleasant airplane chats I've ever been part of. She warm and friendly. Her daughter goes to a private school and is learning Japanese in the fifth grade. Amazing.
Thats zero for two on judging people that day.
I won't stop judging people. I don't know if that's possible or even a totally good thing. But I will be putting a lot less faith in my judgements,that's for sure.