I was inexplicably but undeniably drawn.
They have faces….they have names…they have their reasons…and they even have LIVES.
Without realizing it, I had acted as judge and jury to convict them of a crime of my own construction. They were doing something I’d never do, and because of that, I was somehow superior, better, without “sin” of my own. With a swift finger of accusation, damning and full of ridicule, I had failed to see the three curled back, pointing at ME. All it took to discover this ugly sneer on my own face was to see their faces, learn their names, hear their reasons.
And have a whale of a time in the process :).
Guess what I did last night? I met the “campers” at Targét. If you’ve happened to read comments from my last two posts, you might’ve realized it already.
I didn’t actually make a special trip for this purpose; Tad needed some things. But when the door of opportunity presented itself, well, I just charged through….MUCH to the mortification of my family.
With Rachel’s trusty journal in hand (she’s evidently more Nancy-Drew-ready than me), as my family
bolted to the farthest-most corner of the store went inside, I sheepishly and reluctantly boldly and daringly marched up to the first set of campers and introduced myself (pictured here, left-right, Rocky, Jonathan and Joe). I told them I was taking an informal poll, and asked if they’d mind answering a few questions. Although the media has extensively covered the peeps camping out for Playstation 3s in our area, no one had yet spoken to this group. I even heard CiCi’s Pizza was delivering a few pies to line-waiters elsewhere, these poor guys got nothing but waterlog and frostbite (sorry, giggles that NOW the temperatures decide to hit near freezin’). Oh, yeah, except eventually their PS3s.
Of the ten people waiting in line, eight were guys. All but one planned on re-selling, that guy was a serious gamer. I didn’t get his name but referred to him as “Camo Boy”–his face was covered in a hunting mask. One younger guy, David, planned on playing for a while, then selling it before Christmas (guess that’s his version of the “best of both worlds”). Another David, also known as “Wedding Boy”, was buying his unit to resell in order to make money to pay for his wedding. Gosh, he was so excited. When he told me they had a March wedding date, I asked when (my birthday is in March and I thought it’d be cool if they were getting married then). It’s planned for mid-month, and when I told them why I was asking, one of the girls, Amy Grant (not THE Amy Grant-Chapman-Gill) said, “No way! That’s MY birthday!” How cool is that? Ten people in line, 365 (or 366, Willowtree) possible birthdates, and one is on MY birthday.
These campers who I had dissed so easily before, were decent people. Why did I assume they were jerks? I didn’t even realize my assumption until my pleasant surprise in finding all of them warm and open and inviting and eager to talk. LOL, they wondered if I was a reporter, and I just said no, I was writing about this for personal reasons, that this “story” (which really isn’t much of a story) was intriguing in a trainwreck-watchin’-kind-of-way to me.
I gave a few of them my blog name and told them to Google me, not really expecting any of them to remember. How cool was it this morning when I checked emails to find Joe’s mom, Loree, had posted a comment…and then later, Joe himself?
For some reason, this slice of an insane Americana was telling to me. Telling of self…and others. It was a nice lesson in not marginalizing people, seeking and seeing good in others, giving people the time of day. Contrary to what I’ve taught my children all their lives, TALK to strangers! We are ALL desperate for community, whether we know it, acknowledge it or not. For 2-3 days these campers were part of something much bigger than themselves…a phenom that can only exist in a country as indulged as ours…but for them the experience will be like Joe said, “time well spent [perhaps earning $2,400 for three days “work”] , and a fun story to tell friends.”
Get this: I’m STILL doing “it”! While I sit here and write, in my mind, I’m thinking, “This is more telling about the people who will fork out $3,000 for these things then the guys reselling them”. Geez, I’m STILL a judge!