I like trucks and other observations
Given the natural dynamism of human beings, we are bound to suffer trying interpersonal interactions with some regularity. Consider the incalculable number of details associated with each individual we encounter – from the sociocultural frame of one's background, to the type of breakfast cereal they purchased at the grocery store that afternoon; there are numerous meaningful (and not so meaningful) particulars to each person, period.
Every one, among us, is unique.
While it may ease one's mind to attempt to categorize others in an accessible form or function – that person holds this profession and that person follows this religion – the truth is, we are each more complex than is easily considered.
And often, the mind struggles in the face of complexity.
On a recent walk with a friend, we were sharing personal experiences in awkward interactions. In the midst our connecting conversation, we realized a common theme between our stories. My friend characterized the situation perfectly in his assessment: "Sometimes people offer their thoughts like a young child might, approaching and saying, 'I like trucks.'"
"I like trucks." This, exactly.
A child is frequently unbound by social constructs and expectations, and will assert with unfettered certainty whatever thought arises in the moment. And most of us have endured the outcome of "I like trucks" among adults, as well.
So often strangers will make bold, even evidently offensive observations in the vein of "I like trucks."
From the implicit condemnation of, "Look at her outfit," to the unabashed verbalized chide of, "You're too thin," these moments in communication are frequently the result of speaking to think, and not thinking to speak. We even accept such offenses from pop culture publications presenting headlines questioning a woman's decision to sunbathe in a burkini.
We must be more engaged with those around us – aware of their realities as much as is possible, and attentive to their interests and needs. We must resist confining one another in assessment. A tall order, sure, but ask anyone at 6'3" or taller if they "played basketball," and they'll agree it's due.
Simply, we must be better than "I like trucks."