I sit here
judging someone who might be top of their class
who might be a warm, wonderful, and truly decent human being.
but his pant legs don’t match. One is raised.
and his hipster pants have a low saggy crotch that cannot possibly be comfortable.
and he’s sitting on the edge of the chair.
He didn’t acknowledge anyone when he came in. He threw himself in a chair and kept his face glued to his damn phone.
My first thought: I’d never trust him to be my doctor. WHY? I looked and judged.
I assume from a glance he is spoiled, over-privileged brat who feels the world owes them something.
He is so desperate to be cool in a setting – a medical university – where high school antics shouldn’t be expected or enacted.
I wasn’t paying attention to specifics when he first came in.
I wasn’t paying attention to the fact that his right foot was purple and swollen to nearly twice if not three times the size as his left.
I wasn’t paying attention to the fact that the swelling had gone up his leg, to mid calf – right where the raised pant leg was closely touching.
I wasn’t paying attention to the fact there was a giant angry red welt the size of his kneecap on the inside of his right leg, that may or may not have been something that would be a permanent and life changing bump.
I wasn’t paying attention to the fact that his pants were dirty, and were more than likely the only thing he could get over his swollen foot, as they wear scrubs most of the time on campus.
I wasn’t paying attention to the fact that he was leaning forward, to ensure the pain wasn’t exacerbated by adding pressure to keep his balance sitting back further in the chair.
I tried to ignore that despite his well groomed appearance, he looked tired, worn out, and like he had dealt with enough pain in the last hour? day? weekend? to last him a lifetime.
I tried to ignore all of that, but I did steal a glance at his screen as the nurse (who is one of the best humans I’ve ever met) came and said “X, will you come this way? Can ye walk?”
I couldn’t ignore her tenderness. I couldn’t ignore the audible cry of pain as he stood up, and bore weight on the wounds I’ll never learn the origin story of, and frankly don’t deserve, considering my wretched thoughts.
I didn’t expect to feel humbled, seeing he hadn’t had his nose buried in social media.
I didn’t expect to feel shamed by my assumptiveness.
I didn’t expect to go from a resentful feeling to a tender one in microseconds.
“Mom – ICE” was the only thing I was able to read, and it was at the top of the texting.
Mom – In Case of Emergency
He wasn’t trying to be cool. He was likely reaching out to someone who might care that he possibly couldn’t stand for long periods of time.
I don’t know if he wants to be a brain surgeon or a podiatrist.
I sit here, judging.
I sit here, writing a story in my head that has tabloid written all over it.
I sit here, misjudging the scenario.
I sit here, humbled.
I sit here, and we never made eye contact.
I sit here with my shame, and he walked away. Limped. Hobbled.
That will likely be the last I ever see of him. I don’t even remember his name. I was too ashamed to listen further.
He probably just needed some love and compassion.
I sit here like a fool, learning lessons in silence.
At least I learned something today.
Everyone deserves the right to not be guilty of a bias of a single glance.