Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Perception


We all judge people. Make judgements about them, when we first see them based on how they look, what they're wearing, what they're doing.

I'm not talking about the type of judgement that has a person believing they understand that person's worth, just that initial summarization of the person we make upon first glance.

The reason I'm thinking about this is because of something that happened when I was out for a walk this weekend.

The part of town I live is near enough to downtown that there are often people who'll walk around going through garbage cans and recycling bins looking for refundable containers. They'll then take them to a Bottle Depot and get some money.

There's an older man I've seen around a few times collecting and I saw him when I was out on my walk.

Now I'd always just assumed that he was one of the many homeless we have here in Victoria and that he was collecting cans and bottles for money to help him survive or to help him get what he needs.

As I walked further down the street, however, I could see him taking his big bag towards a car. As I got closer, I watched him take the bag and load it into an already full trunk. The trunk of a BMW.

So my assumption, based on having seen this man out and about collecting recyclables from garbage bins was that he was homeless.

He may be homeless, but he at least has a car. An expensive car.

It kind of blew my mind.

Because then I realized that I couldn't assume he was rich just because he had a BMW.

Maybe it was a gift.

Maybe it was all he had left.

Or, maybe, he's a very rich man and keeps on getting richer by going around and picking up recyclables that other people are throwing away.

Who knows.

It's just a good reminder to me that we never, ever, know anything about someone just from looking.

6 Comments:

Blogger Anxiety Sobriety said...

I agree! Either way, the fact that he is recycling what other people were too lazy to recycle is a benefit to us all.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 9:01:00 am  
Blogger April Fire said...

There is a great gentleman that goes through the garbage bins at BCIT in Burnaby for the cans and other recyclable good (not just refundable). He's not homeless, jobless or 'down on his luck'. With what he has been able to collect each year, him and his wife take a trip to Hawaii! It sucks that people are throwing away, literally, money but I for one am glad that this one guy is doing his part to clean up!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 10:00:00 am  
Anonymous Jillian (back to the nest) said...

So true. I will say this about myself: I'm extremely quick to judge but also extremely quick to accept being proven wrong about my judgments. Hopefully half-way isn't tooooo bad.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 3:18:00 pm  
Blogger Victoria said...

Very true A.S.! :)

That's awesome April! Fun!

I think that's a not too bad way at all Jillian :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 5:30:00 pm  
Blogger Laurene said...

On other people and how we perceive them: Because I don’t think it is appropriate to call it, “judging.”

My friend and I were talking at this one event, and it involved making fun of this group of shallow girls that happened to pass by (the place was infested with lots of them that night). In the middle of thinking up witty remarks to ridicule them (our equally shallow form of amusement for just a moment), my friend thought out loud, “That's how we do it? We judge them based on that?” She meant based on what we see of these girls, how they act and look.

I told her, “I guess so.” Because we don’t really have the time to get to know everyone, do we? And from what they’re showing to everyone who can see, they aren’t the type of people to get to know.

Are we doing it right?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 11:01:00 pm  
Blogger Victoria said...

Whatever works for you, right? :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010 8:31:00 pm  

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