Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

I put the ASS in Assumption

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There is a young man on my oldest son's ball team who has an unusual domestic situation. His grandmother usually brings him to the games. She is a nice lady, and we talk quite a bit. She's a little rough around the edges, but she obviously loves her grandsons very much. She talks about them non-stop. She tells me, laughing, how they eat her out of house and home, how they track dirt all over, how they are all boy. The younger one is the same age as Diminutive One, and they play together during the older boys' games. Both of the boys are friendly, and amazingly happy go-lucky.

Neither has played baseball before, and for the older child especially, it can be a little intimidating. Most of the boys in that age division (11 & 12 year olds) have been playing since they were six years old, and many of them are Allstars. But he doesn't let this get him down, and he continues to give it his very best effort game after game. He finally got his first hit on Friday night, and he was so happy, I thought he would float away. He's not even my kid, but the ear to ear grin that split his face brought tears to my eyes. God he was happy. Such a small thing to bring such excellent, innocent joy.

His Mother has been to a few games, and like his Grandmother, she's a little rough around the edges. But she is very personable and I find her easy to talk to. Both of them are very straightforward. They are simple people who put on no pretenses. With them, what you see is what you get, and I like that. And, despite a lifestyle that some might find a little unseemly, (she erm...."dates" a lot) she strikes me as genuinely loving and attentive.

I've never seen their father. And of course, I've wondered. I always wonder when a parent never shows up at a game. I've never heard him spoken of and assumed he was either absent from their lives or deceased.

At Friday night's game, a man that I had never seen settled himself in the bleachers. He made me uneasy. His face was thick lipped, slope browed...primitive, brutal. His eyes were small and hard. He was dirty, covered in a patina of grime that seemed to be a combination of sweat, axle grease, and the infernal red clay that passes for soil in this state. He had a tatoo on his neck, and another that covered one entire forearm. His left eyebrow was pierced with a large, hollow barbell. His voice was whiskey and cigarettes, the twang of rural Georgia heavy in his words.

Eventually, I realized he was the boys' father.

Well, I thought archly, I guess that explains it.

He only stayed for about 20 minutes...just long enough to witness his son't moment of triumph. He stood up, pumped his fist in the air, and whooped with astonishing vigor. He wore a grin as big as his son's, if not bigger. His face, which had seemed so bestial before, was transformed by the pride that shone upon it.

The boy never made it to home plate. The last out was made by another player, leaving him stranded on third base. But he didn't care. As the boys got ready to take the field, he left the dugout to speak to his Dad.

"DAD!! Did you see that! I did it, Dad, I did it!!"

"You shore did!! I know'd you could! How'd 'at feel, man?"

"GOOD" he said. That simple word carried a wealth of meaning.

Then, the Dad reached out, took his son into his big bear arms, and hugged him hard.

"I'm proud of you. I love you."

He did not glance around to see who was looking. He did not lower his voice. The boy was embarassed, but pleased. He blushed and ducked his head shyly, still grinning.

"Well, Bubba" said the Dad, "I gotta git back to work. My break's almost over. I'll see ya tamarrah. See if you kin do that agin, arright?

He walked off, whistling. He climbed into a battered pick-up truck, lit a cigarette and drove off.

Yes. I was ashamed of myself. Because my assumptions were unfair and unkind. And because after 20 years in the South, I know better than to judge a redneck by it's cover.

I almost feel like I need to issue an apology. But I won't. He doesn't need to know I took him for a parolee or a deadbeat or a thug. What I will do the next time I see him, is look him in the eye, smile, and tell him what a great kid he's got.

I'd really feel better if I knew he thought of me as that snooty (not, just reserved) rich (not, I'm just a good really good bargain shopper) bitch (yeah, okay, sometimes).

I don't know why. Judgementalism loves company?

7 Comments:

  • At 8:53 AM, Anonymous Momish said…

    Incredible post, so well told that I am even humbled by it! I have done this myself. And, while I always think I am as open minded as anyone else, I have too often been taught the lesson that I am not. It's hard not to make assumptions, it is part of how the mind works to schematize (sp?) the world and make it bearable. But, as you say, that raw talent sometimes turns us into an ass. My "remember forever" moment was on jury duty. I pegged this young thug kid as a loser and trouble. He turned out to the friendliest, most sincere and substantial member of the jury. He took it more seriously than any of us and cried when it was over. I will never ever forget my shallowness and his amazing integrity! He improved me, if that makes sense.

     
  • At 9:27 AM, Blogger Mamma said…

    Being a baseball mom, you certainly get to know all different kinds of people as you sit in the stands.

    I love this story. It's so much nicer to hear about the parents who love their children and aren't afraid to show it than it is to overhear some of the comments that one overhears in the stands.

    I'm on the first of three sons to go through little league. My hubs is now coaching them in the same league he played in. Can you say baseball widow? Number 2 starts t-ball in the spring. Is it possible to watch two games at once? Good thing I love the sport!

     
  • At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Kvetch said…

    I have done this as well, but also in a way, on the other foot. I have made ASSumptions about wealthy people that are not always accurate. We seem to assume the worst and that awful human trait crosses class boundaries with ease. I have worked very hard to remember that everyone has a story, that someone really quiet might not be a snob, and that designer shoes doesn't mean you wish you could be walking in them. And yes, I judge those on the "rough" edge of the spectrum as well, and when I'm finished slapping myself, I find many times that they are more like me than anyone else. Funny (or not funny, but perhaps ironic) that my post currently brewing is akin to yours. Just some foreshadowing so you don't think I'm *bitacling* your ideas. HA!

     
  • At 7:30 PM, Blogger Oh, The Joys said…

    This is universal. Well done. Well confessed.

     
  • At 10:15 PM, Blogger jen said…

    consider yourself confessed. maybe bring some cookies next time for penance.

     
  • At 12:16 PM, Blogger Slackermommy said…

    I'm ashamed to admit that I'm guilty of doing this. Thanks for the reminder that you can't judge a book by it's cover. This reminds me of the time that someone told me I'm not at as snobby as I look. Talk about a backhanded compliment.

     
  • At 12:33 PM, Blogger Ruth Dynamite said…

    Love - it's a beautiful thing.

     

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