Smashing First Impressions
The summer is winding to an end; I’ve only got 4 days of work left, and word on Weatherman Street is that it will frost tonight.
This ending, combined with excessive amounts of free time driving back from NYC, gave me the opportunity to think back to the beginning.
I had assumed that my coworkers were simple people; I think I even called them rednecks. In some ways, such as formal education, this is certainly true. But my assumptions were continually confronted by the contrary evidence- their broad knowledge of politics and current events, their deep encouragement of education for the next generation, and of course a working knowledge of things mechanical and practical far outstripping my own.
This, I suppose, I should have seen coming. But the real surprise came from getting to know them as individuals. There were two guys in particular who I identified from the beginning as the most kind-hearted. I was stunned as I learned their stories over the course of the summer; the nicest guys were the ones with pasts that I would have thought would tear most people apart. One had been through the largely physical trauma of brain-melting quantities of drugs and blows to the head. The other has lived his life surrounded by death; his two brothers who died of “lead poisoning”, his service in Vietnam, his coworker who became a serial killer.
I guess our minds and bodies are built to be every bit as adaptable as our impressions.