Changing Our Mind About People

On a train platform in Baltimore, a woman is on the phone. No, no, NO - her voice is blameless, righteous, loud - that's just wrong, Jeff. That's not the way to do business.

She stalks the platform. Her expensive coat billows in the wind she's creating. She hisses more into the phone. It is a very large phone.

And I stand on the platform across from her and think she's an obnoxious jerk.

The train arrives. I find a seat. And I hear this rush of air behind me. It's the woman sweeping into the car. She sits across the aisle from me. No, Jeff, absolutely not, her voice has dropped to a quiet seethe. Oh great, I think, what luck to sit next to this master of jerkfaceness.

The train shakes to a start. We go through a tunnel. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the bright light of the woman's large phone.

I look at her. She's looking at the phone, shaking it, she's lost service in the tunnel. Then she puts her head in her hands. Her shoulders slump. She sighs a lonely, sad sigh.

And I am caught off guard. Because in my mind, I'd judged her as all awfulness. And here she was, showing me her humanity.

So maybe, I think, all this anger is pain in disguise.

We come out of the tunnel. She gets back on the phone with Jeff. Her voice is as blameless, righteous, seething as before. But what I now know is this woman is more than just that.

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Non-JudgmentCaitie Whelan