Outstanding


subway mapAnother Daily Prompt post was fodder for today’s ramblings on It’s Just LIfe.

When was the last time you really stood out in a crowd? Are you comfortable in that position, or do you wish you could fade into the woodwork?

This prompt was actually a pretty easy one for me.  Last year my sweet hubby took me on a fabulous vacation with the final leg landing us in China, Shanghai to be precise.  It was a work trip for him but we also were able to fit in some sightseeing during the visit.

One day we had the privilege of being shown around the city by one of the men that he was working with and it was indeed a whirlwind tour of Shanghai. We flew from one place to another and while it was an exciting time I hardly had a chance to take pictures to document where we were. That was difficult for someone who likes to document with photography.

Our main means of transportation that day was the subway.  Guess what?  We were the only non Asians on the train.   Add to that fact that my husband is a tall kind of guy at 6 foot 2 inches and kind of towers over me at my 5 foot 3 1/2 inch stature.   Yes—we were giants on this crowded subway car and we were quite aware that we did not fit in. At all.  I don’t usually have that feeling.  I am usually pretty comfortable wherever I am but in this case I definitely felt like we stood out.   Not in our attire or in our actions but in our “whiteness”.  The other inhabitants of the car did not engage us in any way—-eye contact was avoided and we were definitely in the minority.

It was a slightly uncomfortable feeling for the short duration.  It was unsettling to hear all the chatter around and be unable to understand it.  In this case it made me aware of how minorities feel –any kind of minority.  It also made me understand that I need to expand my boundaries and be more accepting.  A good lesson to learn in our ever changing world.

Have you ever felt like you stood out in a crowd?  How did it make you feel and how did you handle it?

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Comments

  1. Bill used to go to China when he was in the corporate world (pre-trucking). He definitely stood out there, he said. Even more when he would go to Mexico, however. I tend to try to blend in wherever I go.

  2. Here’s when I most felt like I stuck out, that I was different: Five years ago, at the age of 51, I had a total hip replacement. I used a walker for awhile and then a cane for even longer. I was totally conscious of that when I was out in public. I felt like eyes were locked on me, people wondering, “Why is someone that age using a walker/cane?” It was not a good feeling.

    The lesson I learned from all of this: More empathy for the disabled and for the elderly.

    Your post today is the perfect match to mine about the International Festival Faribault. Once again, we think alike.

    • I thought the very same thing when I read your post!!! We are sisters by a different mother. And yes—-I can understand your feeling that you stood out when you had your hip replacement. And the bonus—you have more empathy for those who are just a tad bit slower than the average person in mobility. 🙂

  3. That uncomfortable feeling, while hearing chatter around you that you can’t understand? Yeah, I’ve been there. I may not have stood out in the sense that I looked different from everyone else but I remember when I first moved here and started going to school… no friends, different type of school and I didn’t speak the language. It was difficult to say the least!

  4. Although my experience wasn’t as startling as yours (I/we were still in USA), it did get me thinking! Of all places, it was at the park at Mt. Rushmore!! A motorcycle trek for us brought us there once again. This day, though, we were totally surrounded by Japanese. Not being able to comprehend the surrounding conversations is unsettling to say the least (when you KNOW that you are standing on your own soil!! ). Hugs…..

  5. I still remember the time that I had to give a presentation in front of my team at work. It’s been almost 15 years ago. In front of an audience of 3, I stood at the transparency screen and totally blanked. I’ll never forget the look of bored expectation in their eyes. I told myself, “Just say anything! What is my name?!” Okay, so maybe it wasn’t a crowd, but I surely stood out.

  6. I guess I felt not let out but afraid I would not do it well. It was when I was to give the message one Sunday when the women had the entire service and I gave the message.

  7. These experiences are always an eye opener for sure. I think it would be good for everyone to experience this feeling at some time. It would make the world a more accepting and tolerant place. When I find myself in the minority, I simply smile. It is not always returned, but I feel I did my part. A smile is the same in all languages.

    What a great trip that must have been for you and your hubby. I woudl love to hera more about it!

  8. Crowded restaurant. A waiter dumped a plate of spaghetti i in my lap, and then he was so upset he knocked my wine into my lap. When Joe stood up to help out he turned and knocked a tray out a servers hands and hot coffee spilled on me when I dove to make sure it missed Cole and knocked his mac and cheese off his highchair, slipped and nailed my eye on the corner of the high chair. It was an Italian restaurant and everyone was waving hands, talking over one another, mopping me up with towels, handing me ice. Joe was holding out sobbing baby while arguing with the owner (loudly) that I did not need an ambulance. I was a show stopper. We never went back.
    Interesting about the train ride…do the tourist skip public transportation or was it the time of day? When you are use to being the majority clearly being the minority is uncomfortable. I’m sure a smile from anyone would have been a comfort and yes it is a good reminder for all of about making people feel welcome.

    • Oh my goodness—your Italian restaurant story is a show stopper. And it was. Oh my my my. We had a waiter once drop a tray with all of our food on it right at our table—-it got on half of us. He was young and so his reaction was to just stare at us as we picked the food off—-no apology, no offer of help, nothing. It was odd. He never told us if he was going to go get us more food or offered to get more napkins etc. WE all sat there for about 5 minutes and he never came back so we ended up leaving without paying. I still remember people staring at us like it was our fault or something but he just acted so nonchalant—it was weird. We never went back.
      I don’t know about tourists and subways—all I know is that there were no others like us at that particular time!!

    • The Italian Restaurant story is hilarious. You can’t make up stories better than that. It is almost like a Monty Python episode. It is one way to get attention. And beth, What was with that young waiter and the restaurant in fact. What a way to lose customers! Thanks for the laughs.

  9. Interesting reactions you received. I wonder if the difference is the city. When our daughter and her family went to China, people were always asking to take a picture of them, or with some of them, and they seemed to be especially fond of anyone with blonde hair. Maybe they thought Chris was the Incredible Hulk or something. 😉

    • Haha! That is funny! She was a celebrity! Other than the subway I didn’t really feel that way but you could be right about the area. Big cities like Shanghai are probably a bit different.

  10. I used to get this feeling all the time when we lived in NW Ont. & we had our store. The Native people would come in, ignore us completely, speak in Oji-Cree around us & not acknowledge us at all until they wanted something. We looked different, couldn’t understand their language & did not have the same kind of lifestyle. It was uncomfortable at times.

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