Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Assumptions Can Be Great Tools

I'm in a subway car with the following:
2 black men in suits
1 black man dressed thuggishly (oversized pants hangin past his ass, hoodie, holding a hip hop magazine)
1 black man wearing sweats
1 black man in a best buy uniform
1 black man in slacks and a hoodie (slacks are on properly)

Where do I sit? Next to the thuggish looking one. He got annoyed that I sat next to him, forcing him to close his legs (as if he's carrying gold bullion down there).

Since I have few stops to go, I start mentally judging who was up in up and who were not. I know judging is wrong. It's merely a tool for me to flush out characters in my head.

The 2 black suits. One was tired and one wasn't. I assumed the tired one put his 150% of his energy at work. Needless to say it could be possible he went partying until late the night before. The suit who wasn't so tired was an average worker. He didn't go above and beyond. At least the 2 are working. Well that I assumed. It could be that both were job hunting. I would never know.

Sweat suit man was a lazy one. He's comfortable in sweats but has no ambition out of his norm. He's comfortable hanging out at a liquor store or a park playing dominos.

Best buy guy was heading home from work. He was wearing a grin which could mean he was about go see his girl or he's about hang with his boys; who could be into some mischief.

Slacks hoodie guy could be a guy working in the mail room at a company. Had a long day. He looked kind of defeated. So maybe he had a long day. He was probably getting abused at work. People talking down to him as if he was nothing. Or he could just be really tired.

Last but not least is Mr Thug. He's the one that screams a lot to me. He is the dude who is hustling on the street. Puts up this hard demeanor. Self centered with a chip on his shoulder. It's all about what pleases him and never vice versa. He doesn't even respect his family, not even his mother. He probably sees them as potential new clients. He also loves his hop hop. If he wasn't hustling, he'd be a rapper. He can debate all day long whether Gucci Mane is sick with his game compared to Wiz Kalifa. He ride or die for his hustle. Proud of it too. Never believed an education and hard work could get you fast money. So he didn't waste his time. He doesn't look at his future because there probably isn't one. I could go on and on about this guy. My assumption can be wrong too. He could be a teddy bear who just likes the thug style.

Mr thug gives me more ammo to building and fleshing through a character. However, I do not write about ghetto life. It's not something I know and I refuse to immerse myself into it to learn. Maybe I could refine character to be out of his norm in a story.

Mentally judging people gives me characters. I don't really base any real life judgements on some of the people I observe. I am a woman and I do think about my safety when traveling to and from work by myself. I have to make quick assumptions about people for protection. I would never walk near mr thug. I would avoid him like the plague. But I would also avoid the others if I could too. One thing my mother taught me that I still retain is to never walk thru a group of guys. You are asking for trouble when you do so.

We all judge people when we look at them. We all assume different things. So why don't we use some of the assumptions in a creative way instead of harboring them and make useless stereotypes to classify them. We are all guilty of that. Most don't want to admit it.

Do you judge people? What does it bring you?

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