Misplaced scorn, who has it?

Went for a short hike at Montezuma Well last weekend. On my way back down from the edge of the sinkhole, as I began to pass a short, silver-haired, lady standing near the parking lot, I nodded and grunted 'llo. Which is my way of being cordial to Homo Sapiens. Admittedly, I'm much more friendly to most other animals—a few of whom (turtle, squirrel, gecko, hawk, butterfly, duck) I saw on this stroll—but, since they didn't look me in the eye, I didn't nod or talk to them.

Then, the sliverhair asked, "How was it? Is it worth it?" Which sounded more like four slightly accented words — howzit? zit worth 'ate?

I wondered about her accent, but focused on her last question. Since the park is free, I assumed she meant: 'is it worth the climb for such a frail-old-bitch as myself'.

I replied, "It's nice. There's nothing like this for hundreds of miles in any direction. It's a short walk over that hill." I was now moving a little slower, but still heading toward the pit-latrines (which I could have found blindfolded since I was approaching from downwind) when I realized she had turned and was walking back to the parking lot with me; so I asked: "Are you from Australia?"

"I'm British...! humph..." She snort-grumbled.

I see we are approaching a couple standing in the shade, who must be her peers because they are all wearing similar clothes, skin, and hair, as silverhair exclaims indignantly, "Now I sound Australian! Can you believe it?" This last, obviously, directed at her mates as I continue to walk toward the loo without a 'thank yeh, cheerio' or a 'giidday'.

I wonder if—like many seem to think—the reason people hate people is really because their deity looks different or requires different acts of contrition? Maybe it's just because hate and scorn come easier to the tongue, and mind, than does kindness.

I've been asked my nationality in many different ways. In Turkey, a man rolled thru a litany of guesses, which he wanted to make ('No...don't tell meh...') until he got it right. I didn't ridicule his incorrect guesses (Canadian, British, South African) because he was playing the percentages—assuming previous nationalities were a way to predict current ones. To that man, anyone who spoke English sounded the same. Clearly, Americans didn't visit his store very often.

In Cairns, Australia, I witnessed the silverhaired lady's disdain—only in reverse. The British were scoffed at, and labeled POHM (Prisoners Of Her Majesty) as in: 'the pohmmy bastad would like anotha laga.'

The same thing happens within our States un-United: southerners are scorned for the ignorance and race-crimes of their ancestors (which may or may not have been handed down through the generations). Big city dwellers are disliked because of their rude insensitivity (caused by having to deal with so many rude and insensitive people). Suburban gated-community inhabitants are disdained for their disdain (a curable infection passed from their neighbors, which is cultivated and rarely cured).

I thought, later, that I should have asked: where are you from, rather than make a guess. But, then the silverhaired lady wouldn't have had an opportunity to reinforce my belief that even the most benignly geriatric Homo Sapiens can be impolite bigots who deserve my scorn.

Maybe you tripped and fell in, you haughty crone...maybe you got drug under by an autumnal swarm of flaming water scorpions and they handed you off to the deeper swimming leeches.

One can only hope.

Thank you for renewing my lack-of-faith, yer highness; I was beginning to wonder if I was going soft on humans. I wasn't.

No comments: