So ever sat and really watched the people around you?
Last Sunday we were child free and decided to take the Bike out for a ride and a cuppa.
Stopped off at a small coffee shop we have frequented many times. Usually we climb out of our “ordinary” car in our “everyday” clothes with kids flowing behind us. No one bats an eye or makes a move. Its just a family out for coffee.
This time though we climbed off our motorcycle, kitted in gear, same hairdo, same clothes underneath, difference though….. the world around us, the peoples reactions. Donning Bike gear had suddenly morphed us in the view of some into less than savory characters. Where before we were viewed as the suburban family we were now being viewed as a threat.
Fair to say it was only a few, some gave us smiles and general good natured “hello’s” some even looked longingly at the bike, but as I watched, as I often do, a couple at one table viewed us skeptically. They were seated in a corner next to an empty table at the windows. Other couples on either side of them. The lady at the table watched us approach. As we sat down next to them at the vacant table she picked her bag up and moved it to a chair on the opposite side of where we sat. Normally I wouldn’t have thought much of it, but as I sat and we waited for our coffee and flapjacks, I noticed her keep peering at us, whispering to her man. Then she moved seats to the opposite side.
I am not writing this to complain or say we were treated unfairly. Its just that it happens so often in life in so many aspects of it. I sat and thought about life and I realized how much we humans judge others based on their appearance. How we categorize people by their life choices and hobbies. We judge based on looks and body image preferences.
Yes, ok, I live in South Africa and it has crime, people get scared and paranoid. The world has crime. No where is better off or “greener”. Each area has its problems to face, but why must we single out an entire group of individuals based on an experience or a story featuring one person who just happened to have even just one thing in common with the rest of them. Worse yet is when as people we base our judgment on hearsay. Being hijacked by a blue Golf 1 doesn’t mean every Blue Golf 1 driver is bad, we know this. People will tell you its common sense. However Bikers and people with piercings and tattoos are labeled as rowdy, trouble makers, and yes… some are! Just like some people who drive cars are.
Most bikers are however no different from your friends and family. Law abiding people with families and jobs, some technicians, artists, doctors and lawyers. Some tattooed and some not. Just as we should not label based on gender and race, so we should not label based on body image and hobbies. Each individual person should be given the benefit of being judged on their own merits, character and individual behavior. Fair to say we can be careful and cautious, but at least allow the individuals that cross your path in life to be given fair opportunity to prove who they are before you label them. You never know, by changing your view you may just find a host more friends you have more in common with than you realized.