So Hubba-hubba, Mr. Personality, and I were eating at a restaurant the other week. With the meal came some complimentary ice cream. Now, I have never been known to say no to spumoni, so I happily began spooning. But then, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a disapproving stare from a fellow restaurant patron. I felt myself become squashed, it began to become darker, and suddenly, the darkness was complete. I was helpless.
I was boxed.
The person at the other table had obviously judged me as someone who needed to ease up a bit on the ice cream intake, and where in the world was her self control? Couldn't she just say no? Obviously, no is not a word that she applies to food very often. And what about that child, he looks ok now, but certainly he is doomed to a life of weight problems judging by the obvious relish with which Mom is eating that stuff.
What is it about us that feels so comfortable about putting people into neat little categories, slamming the lid shut, and filing us away?
Stay at home mom, must not have any independence.
Liberal Democrat, must not believe in God.
Conservative Republican, must be a Bible-thumper.
Working mom, must not love her children.
Arkansas resident, must be dumber than a doorpost.
Doesn't like provocative billboards, must want to homeschool and repeal freedom of the press.
Mel feels boxed.
Boxes must be our way of ordering life into handy little containers to make sense of what is certainly an overwhelming world. How else are we to process all the little bits of information, if not to examine what we are presented with and categorize accordingly? We see, we hear, and instantly (and rather impressively) our brains harness all the references we posess to those bits of data, and conveniently, we create our boxes.
Boxes are not inherently bad. It is just that we have a tendency, once a box has been assembled, to shut the lid and not reexamine the contents at a later date.
Our boxes fail to acknowledge the nuance of character. They have difficulty in grasping the faceted nature of thoughts and ideas. They rarely take into account the differences in breadth and scope of everyone's experiences.
Boxes are easy.
People, with their diverse intelligence, faith, thoughts, moods, and faults, are very very hard.
We tend to gravitate toward the easy.