Posted by I'm the penguin | Posted in | Posted on Friday, March 12, 2010

Come with me to those trips that come unexpectedly, those which either you take right that moment or you might never have the chance to go back: memory lane.

This specific childhood memory comes from a time where I was 7 or 8, and I used to walk around my mother's workplace. My mom worked in a big big place were I walked around a lot, it had huge gardens and for a mystical 7 year old it was pretty magical. But this story is not about the imagination, but perception. And so in some of my walks I used to visit a tiny little library where forgotten and unimportant books were kept, there was the workplace of Danny, a 20 years old student-librarian, who for me was pretty much a grown-up. I remember that with Danny and I used to speak about all sorts of things, I can't recall what kind of things, but stupid things 7 year olds say. He was patient and listened to me like it was a serious thing, I felt like a big boy already, having ideas worth hearing.

(small note: that's something adults often don't notice, they think children just speak to appear silly or cute, but they don't realize what they (we) say they (we) mean. It's not just some joke you get to ignore)

Anyway, this guy Danny was the boyfriend of one of my mother's co-workers and close friend. And one day my mom told me very casually the news while in the workplace:

"Mary broke up with Danny"

That made me sad, I didn't know anything about heart matters but I knew that meant I wouldn't get to see him now that the relation was broken, plus it saddened me that both of them would feel bad because of that.

"Well she can do so much better, he's... well... she can find someone more attractive" said another co-worker
"I know, he was nice but he wasn't pretty, not unpleasant but... being honest he was ugly" said my mom

And then I was surprised, could Danny the man who listened to me and worked a t a tiny library be ugly? How can people like that be ugly?

"Was he ugly" I naively asked

The co-worker and my mother smirked and reassured that while Danny was a nice person, he was physically unappealing in many ways. That moment took me by surprise, according to bed time stories and Disney nobody who was nice was ugly. I couldn't really see what was ugly about him, he was a nice person.

And as time passed I noticed that kept happening, I didn't realize when people were ugly, to my eyes they were just boring, nice, loud, stupid or so or so. I remember another example when I was waiting for the dentist back when I was 8, and the receptionist was in the waiting room and she started asking me if I was scared. I had never had bad experiences with dentists, but TV and movies said they were very scary people, so I went with the flow and said I was indeed scared. And so she smiled and said it would be fine. It was not even a very nice smile, and I guess that was part of her job, but nevertheless it was a nice gesture.

And there I was sitting in the chair waiting when the thought that she was a pretty person crossed my mind twice. She was not. Maybe she was nice, but just like Danny, she was not aesthetically appealing. As a matter of a fact she was kind of... well... ugly.

I remember that moment I realized that maybe noticing ugly people was an age thing, maybe being a young boy I was I couldn't notice people's looks as much, and instead I guided myself on pure personality content, silly me.

And this memory only brings to mind, was it me or is it an age thing? Should we grow and start seeing the flaws and imperfections? Wouldn't it be a better world if personality mattered more than face symmetry and low fat bodies? Maybe, maybe it was just that I made stories in my head, still do and always will.

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