Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

Just another weblog

The Book and Its Cover

on February 6, 2010

I try to not be too preachy or philosophical. I really would love it if we could do what Rodney King wanted and all just get along. Live peacefully together, along side one another, no matter our color, race, religion, sexual orientation. Just one big happy family. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? No one judging someone else  because of something superficial.

I was going through some old photos in search of a co-worker from my LA days. He recently died from cancer and I wanted to put up a picture I have of him. As I was going through these photos, I found some of another co-worker who became a very dear friend. And that dear friend is the reason for the title of my post.

A little history of me: I was brought up in Oklahoma, the center of the country. Good old boy country.  Redneck country. Although I feel like I’m pretty far from being a redneck, I have been surrounded by those ideologies my whole life. I’ve been surrounded by people who rather than going along with the adage “If you cant’ say something good, don’t say anything at all’, would whisper and snipe and spew venom and pick other people apart acting as if they were somehow superior to these people. Even though it was quite possible they had no idea about the other person, where they came from, what they had been through, etc. That sounds like the classic judging of a book by it’s cover.

So, naturally, when I moved, I was flung into the most amazing culture shock I’d ever seen at that point in time. I’ve seen much worse now, but then, it was like night and day, literally. I had barely ventured beyond the borders of my state when I made the trek half-way across the country to move to LA. My concept of the world was, um, pretty narrow, I guess is a good way to put it. Very sheltered. Where I’d grown up, it was very white-bread, not a whole lot of diversity.

When I got my job in LA, my eyes were opened in a way I never thought possible. I was in the minority there.  I was outnumbered by blacks, Hispanics and Phillipinos. It was a really strange feeling, really to stand out like that. And being a very fair-skinned person among all of these people of color, well, let’s say at first I felt like the proverbial turd in the punchbowl. Oh, and the whole Oklahoma thing. They loved teasing me about that one. When I first started there, they asked me if we had electricity, cable tv and hot water! I get it, though. All you ever see of our part of the country is westerns or read it in the history books about the cowboys and Indians. A lot of the guys who would tease me were LA born and bred and had never really been outside of LA. Why would you need to? Everything you could possibly want to do is right there: museums, beaches, sports, concerts, amusement parks, skiing, it’s all there.

The first time I saw Bob, I was terrified. He was goth from head to toe. An asymmetrical haircut that, sorry Bob, looked oddly reminiscent of Kate Gosselin, a long hank of bangs on one side and shaved on the other. Goatee, skull earring, skull collar points, black shirt, black pants, black Doc Martins and glasses. A guy’s gotta see you know. I caught a glimpse of him and the wall became my new best friend. I had never seen a goth person in my  life outside of the movies. I didn’t know exactly what to make of him. I know I was rude, whenever he spoke to me in the halls, just to say hello, or anything, I completely ignored him, I was certain that he wanted to make me part of some weird blood sacrifice ritual on the full moon. I was also certain that he must be on drugs, wasn’t that what Goths did? I didn’t get that whole goth lifestyle. To be perfectly honest, I still don’t get it, but hey, people are people. You have to do what you feel is best for yourself and as long as it doesn’t hurt someone else or involve a felony, I say, fine, go for it. You want to cover yourself from top to bottom in tattoos? Go for it. win the Guinness title for the most body piercings, fine, knock yourself out. I’m not into that much pain, but hey, go for it.

Then one day, my whole idea was tossed on it’s ear. Bob and I worked on opposite floors and since the lunch breaks were staggered by floor, we never had lunch together, until my department was moved upstairs to the same floor as his. I don’t remember exactly how it happened. Maybe one of us was sitting at a table with other people. I can’t remember exactly. What I do remember was being shocked at how funny and intelligent he was, still is. The more we talked, the more I liked him. He was a great guy. Very sweet and thoughtful and not at all what I expected when I first saw him. We became very close friends, which, unfortunately, his wife wasn’t too crazy about. I tried to be friends with her too, I did. I didn’t have any romantic designs on him, I loved him as a friend, still do. But it was just too much for her, so I tried to stay out of the way. I didn’t want to cause any friction between them.

I moved back to Oklahoma and lost touch with Bob. It made me sad to lose his friendship, but being 1200 miles apart and being afraid to call for fear of getting him into trouble makes it difficult. Last year, I found my wonderful friend again on Facebook. Say what you will about it, but I am so happy to have found him again. he’s such a special person. I’m happy to report he’s recently remarried to a lovely lady who apparently is not quite the jealous type. I haven’t met her yet, but I hope to some day in the not so distant future.

So….the moral of my story is really what they say, don’t judge a book by it’s cover, if you do, you may miss out on a wonderful friendship, or even more. That time in my life was really transformative in the way that I view myself and other people. I came back a completely different person than when I left, and for the better. I would wish that for anyone. A journey of self-discovery, find out who you are, what you want in life and go find it. I didn’t know what I wanted when I was there, but the things that I saw and learned while I was there, I think, helped me become the person that I am now and helped me get where I needed to be to find the people and situations that were going to be my future.

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