Am I becoming a judgemental bigot, or are people really just that easy to classify? I fear it’s the former, especially since my judgements are usually negative.
Take this encounter as an example. A family walks in – a woman, two older teenage boys and a young girl. They leave the door open as they enter, even though it’s a really buggy day. They are already bickering. I can’t stop the thought from flicking across my mind – “Born in a barn” – and they do nothing to contradict me.
The woman, who turns out to be their aunt, is quick to inform the boys that they are paying their own admission. As she pays for herself I notice her hair. At first glance it appears normal, long and pulled into a ponytail - but then I realize it’s actually cut quite short, just slicked back in the front, with two long strands just at her temples. These comprise the ponytail that ends between her shoulder blades like a truly terrible rat’s tail. My fellow guide and I share a horrified giggle as Rat Tail turns away.
Her nephews are dressed in trendy clothing that instead of making them cool makes them look like they’re trying too hard. One of them seems nice, like a sensitive boy in an ill fitting mould. He pays for his little sister. His brother is probably bullied in school, or a bully himself. After they decide not to take the tour and wander about for about 40 minutes, he’s the one they send running back to try to get on the train. Of course it’s too late. He complains about having to run here and back, loudly. Instead of feeling pity I only feel disgust.
This family is relegated in my mind to trailer trash, within 5 seconds of walking in the door.
There are many different categories. There are the families with impeccably groomed wives, the children treated like pets and not allowed to get dirty; the parents who pretend that they’re in charge to what, impress us? who then cave to their whiny children within minutes; the oil-rich, arrogant with a sense of entitlement, the assholes incarnate and the assholes in training; foreigners, half of whom are so happy to be here and the other half who resent parting with their Canadian cash.
I guess in tourism you see them all – happy and miserable, well-groomed and those who don’t know what soap is, rich and poor. Hopefully in seeing them all I can choose which ones I want to be like and keep myself from ending up as one of the ignorant majority.