I've had a lot of travel recently. It's really the climax of a busy travelling year so far while my employment has been relatively low in travel. By my quick count it has been 27 days which puts me slightly over 30% travel on the year.
Last week I was taking a very familiar walk through the Charlotte airport and I was struck by a realization - I am VERY good at judging people. That isn't "good" in a sense of being "right" because it is completely wrong. I have skills at judging people, and airports are like steroids for my judging muscles.
My eyes flit from traveller to traveller and I write a life story for them based upon their dress, their walk, their talk, or their confusion at the walls of information and graffiti of advertising. I blatantly ignore that they are travelling for joys (weddings), sorrows (funerals), or have the same road weariness that I do. I make a caricature of each person based on what jumps out to me from a one second glance.
My realization was that I'm taking my instant label and applying it to their whole life. I need to approach each person like they are having their worst day, and I can help. They are parched in the desert of life and I can give them cool water. That's what I would want. That's who I want to be but my muscle memory runs deep and I have good reflexes.
All this reminds me of Jason Gray and the labels we throw onto other people and the labels we can choose to wear ourselves.