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3.25.2013

FAR FROM AN ARYAN RACE


Sitting at terminal gate 3 in the Phoenix Gateway Airport at 5:00 a.m. I realized that not only are people interesting, but they even more interesting at 5:00 a.m. 

We were waiting to board our return flight back to the Great Lakes region of the Midwest from a short 3 day jaunt to Arizona.  It was a short trip because it was a small airline which flew out of smaller airports with direct flights usually only two days a week.  In our region this airline flew on Thursdays and Sundays.  That time frame didn't leave a traveler much choice except for cheaper airfares and more convenient closer to home airports.  

As I glanced around while drinking a really bad cup of regular unflavored coffee (flavored brewed coffee is unheard of in the southwest - cowboys just can't tolerate it I guess!), I noted that most of the people sitting in those very dirty blue upholstered chairs were waiting to board the same plane I was.  They were probably returning back to Grand Rapids, Michigan or within a several hour drive back to their homes.  There was a look this group seemed to have.  It whispered, spoke, even shouted WE ARE MIDWESTERNERS.  

Try as I might, I just couldn't put my finger on it exactly.  What was it that seemed to connect this group of people together aesthetically?  Was it facial features, hairstyles (or the need for one!), the lack of clothing style, the mismatched behind the times sort of way they carried themselves, a dread of living in a gray and harsher climate demeanor and aura that followed them like a rain cloud over an outdoor wedding?  What was it?  If there was a human sorting system, like for organizing toys, this group waiting at terminal gate 3 would all be in a bin for tinker toys.  We were very similar in some undefined way.

I more than giggled inside as I did this them versus me thing.  They looked a certain way that tied them to this particular people group, the toy bin of Midwesterners.  I too was one.  No matter what skewed view I had of myself from looking at me from the inside out, I no doubt must have had a similar connective look.  I sighed inside.  These somewhat folksy, mismatched, unstylish band of fliers were my geographic people group.  If I thought too highly of myself, it at that very moment melted away as I realized I belonged to the Adams Family!

What made us look like this?  More than that though, what caused such distinctive looks and feels of people from different parts of the country.  I wasn't prissy, sophisticated, overly highly educated, from old money, trendy, overly liberal or overly conservative. I too probably could easily be pegged from a certain and easily identifiable part of the country whether I liked it or not.

I was trying to gather all my belongings while emerging from airport security.  With droves of others, I was putting my shoes and belt back on - dressing publicly in front of strangers while re-securing my carry-on things from the gray bin that had rolled out of the security shoot.  Beside me was a very classy, no doubt very wealthy attractive woman in her late seventies.  We both lamented at the disruption that flying caused nowadays.  We chit-chatted about her being from Nebraska and flying back and forth between their place in Phoenix and their home in Nebraska several times during the winter months.  She was charismatic, smart, well dressed and beautiful. Instantly I sized her up based on her looks.  I categorized her.  As my husband came over to me she grabbed me and said, "She is gorgeous!"

I was thinking of her comment as I sat in terminal gate 3 with others waiting to board that plane back to Grand Rapids, MI.  In an instant I had sized her up based on her looks.  I made assumptions and categorized her accordingly.  I too had done the same thing to this group of not snappy dressing or appearing Midwesterners.  We had a look. Genetics and environment had definitely collided. Like it or not, I was one of them despite what that beautiful charismatic older woman had declared to me:)   Pretty sure I was that the look of us Midwesterners was far from the look of an Aryan race!

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