On my first day back from work, my good friend was pointing out things to me. “Here is the tower, here is the pink house, here is one of the “girls for hire”! I looked at this seemingly regular person, wearing a regular jacket, regular boots and regular soft make up.
“She’s is not a “girl for hire” I state, thinking she is likely waiting for a friend, a taxi, maybe a bus. “Look” he says pointing to another girl sitting in a cafe on her own, looking around and smiling. “Come on, she looks just like a regular woman” I said, a bit frustrated at what I was hearing. These women didn’t seem like that type at all. Then, I saw the “look”! The smile at my coworker and I knew… he was right.
“Just don’t sit alone in a coffee shop and smile at everyone ok! ” he suggests. He believes I’m “too nice” to everyone.
Speed forward to Monday night. I worked all day in the hotel room. I was tired and wanted fruits and cheese. So I headed out looking for an open grocery store. I know of two nearby, so I headed down the street only to figure out everything was closed due to the national holiday. I headed to the next one; same thing. After walking all weekend, my ankles and feet were a wee bit sore… ok – really sore! So I sat myself down on a two step porch to rest my feet. A few minutes later this tall blond older man approached me. He mumbled something that I deciphered as being very bad Spanish, and thinking he was asking me the time, I responded is Spanish “No se!” – I do not know.
He tried again in Spanish, and I realizing that Spanish was NOT his usual language, I asked if he spoke English. In broken English he asked something else. Of course, I still didn’t quite understand but I knew he sounded German. In fact, I concluded he was so, and asked again in Spanish “Que dices?” – What are you saying? and he asked louder “how much?” – – I looked at him puzzled – “Cuanto coste- “How much do you cost?” he asked.
It hit me like a ton of bricks – and then, I burst out laughing – seriously… I’m not an old bag, BUT I’m not exactly a spring chick with my day old washed hair in a ponytail and a plain t-shirt with sneakers that might still have a few colored spots from the last visit at the farm. He realized he had the wrong type of person and apologized and quickly walked away.
So what was I to think? Well, I realized that we are sometimes quick in assuming things when we see people. Who can tell if the person asking for spare change didn’t lose his job and his house in a recent flood or earthquake? Who can tell if the taxi driver earned his master’s degree in Poland but in the U.S of A, the only thing he can do to earn enough to take his qualifying doctor’s license tests? Who can tell if that single nice ordinary woman sitting alone in a Buenos Aires cafe is not an escort? Who can tell if the middle age woman (well if I live to 100 then I am middle age!!) sitting and tying her shoelace might be a tourist resting her feet for a short moment…
Appearances are not always what they seem to be!