OK, I'm a prejudiced jerk. Let's get that out of the way right off. I'm mad at myself and have berated myself for the last couple of hours. I'm horrified. I thought I was further down the road to enlightenment. Nope. Dark ages, that's where I live, in the frigging dark ages.
This morning after being afixed to the floor via a complex maze of straps, the WheelTrans driver informs me that we are going to pick someone else up on the way. "No problem," says I. We head off and go quite a ways East and I glance at my watch wondering if I'll get to work on time, I go West. It was very dark and the street was covered in snow and lined with huge snow banks. The driver had to gingerly park near the bank to be out of the way of traffic.
From where I sat I couldn't see anything as she had opened the back door for entry, the side being blocked by a snow drift. I glanced around and all I saw was a long black coat, a cane and a terrified gait. I turned back and waited while the elderly woman was strapped into the seat behind me. I hadn't seen her but I just knew that she had white hair, done in a bun.
Then we hit the 401 and went East, I glanced at my watch, I go West. After making our way through a maze of strip malls we pull up in front of the drop off destination. The driver opens the back door and then assists the elderly woman to her feet.
Around the back of the van comes this incredibly young, incredibly hot (if you were of the lesbian persuasion - oh, straight men too) young woman of maybe 22. Her coat was black, but fashionably cut, she was impossibly thin and her cane was beautiful. She stopped to greet a co-worker and smiled at something he said, sun burst through clouds. She was beautiful. She was hot. She was NOT anything that I 'saw' in my mind.
I see a crutch and assume elderly and frail.
What kind of jerk does that?
A prejudiced one. One that anticipates stereotype rather than makes ready for suprise. One that sees categories not individuals.
I am shamed.